FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (FOTS)

This week is both super exciting and a little nerve-wracking because it's the kickoff of a new series, The Fruit of the Spirit. 

But firstly, what are the fruits of the Spirit and why do we need them?

BOTTOM LINE: As Christians, we are to be "the salt of the earth" and "live as people of light." (Matthew 5:13-16; Ephesians 5:8)

In other words, we are to set an example and live a Godly life.  But how do we know if we're living a Godly life? We produce fruit.

"22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" (Galatians 5:22-23) (also see Philippians 1:9-11)

Why are these fruits so important?

1) It is a part of our identity as children of God.
In last week's blog, I explored the affirmations that God makes to us in the Bible   about our identity. While I didn't specifically touch on this one last week,

We are branches of the true vine and conduits of Christ's life.

In John 15:4-6, Jesus makes the analogy that He is the vine and we are the branches. Unlike lots of the weird and cryptic analogies in the Bible, you can take this one quite literally. When branches of a plant can't get support from the main root, they shrivel up and die. Similarly, if as branches of the true vine, we don't get support from God, our lives as Christians start to die. Instead, when we operate in and call on God, we grow, flourish, and begin to produce fruit.

2) God wants us to grow.
While just calling ourselves believers is simple, the Lord calls us to do more. God   doesn't want us to remain mere children in faith forever (Hebrews 6:1-3). While it's        so easy to live our lives without letting God take over, it stops us from fulfilling the bottom line. (to be the "salt of the earth" and "live as people of light").

3) The fruit of the Spirit show our transformation and maturation as believers.
Referring to the previous point, the fruit of the spirit prove that we're growing in our faith. They are almost like our checkpoints for evaluating our maturity as believers. Now I'm not saying that in order to call ourselves Christians, we have to force ourselves to be loving, joyful, etc. While these fruit don't necessarily prove that we're believers, they prove that we're maturing. Much like actual fruit, they are the byproducts of us constantly depending on God for guidance, and they should come naturally once we are fully rooted in Him.

Throughout the next several weeks, I'll be exploring each fruit of the Spirit and learning why each fruit is important to our spiritual lives. Going back to the branch analogy, you know a plant is dying if it is shriveled up and has no fruit.  For the rest of this week, I really encourage all of us to start evaluating our spiritual lives. Are we shriveling up? Is there fruit in our lives? How can we change and grow to produce fruit? God bless & sleep easy, fam.

SUMMING IT ALL UP

  1. The fruit of the Spirit are a part of our identity as children of God.
    We are branches of the true vine and conduits of Christ's life.
  2. God wants us to grow.
  3. The fruit of the Spirit show our transformation and maturation as believers.

REFERENCES:

Matthew 5:13-16
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Ephesians 5:8
"For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!"

Galatians 5:22-23
"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!"

Philippians 1:9-11
"I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God."

John 15:4-6
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned."

Hebrews 6:1-3
"So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding."