Jesus is our Life (Colossians 3:4). The Fruit of the Spirit is the foundation of our life in Christ Jesus on which all things rest. The Fruit of the Spirit in our lives affects everything we do and say and the way we rationalize things; without it, everything is affected by sin.
Walking in the Fruit of the Spirit will never produce sin in our lives because there is no law against it. Without law there is no sin (see Romans 7: 7-8).
In Galatians 5:22-23 the Fruits of the Spirit are listed as: love, joy (gladness of heart), peace, longsuffering (patience, having an even temper), gentleness (excellence in character, showing kindness), goodness (being good toward others), faithfulness, meekness (which is having no self interest) and temperance (self-control).
The joys or the fatalities of life that we experience depend on whether or not we respond with the Fruit of the Spirit. We live in a world of sin and depravity; therefore, tragedies and difficulties do come. However, God is ready to assist us and, depending on the situation, He wants us to avoid the difficulties through wisdom and understanding, or, to turn the devastating situations in our lives into triumphs and to the good. It’s up to us.
The way we respond everyday to the various encounters with people and situations determines what kind of life we will have. The same situation can have two opposite outcomes depending on how we respond.
For example, consider someone who has done you wrong. The offense generally strikes an arrow of pain to the heart. The depth of pain is determined by how close that person is to you. We will not focus on the intention of the offender. (Many times people wrong loved ones out of ignorance, fear, shame, guilt or self-preservation. In other words, they need help to get out of bondage as well. They are just acting out of where they are).
How we respond to the infliction is crucial. If you choose to walk in the flesh by being unforgiving, resentful, bitter toward them, or, you choose self and to sit in self-pity, you have given control of that relationship or situation to the devil. You have chosen darkness and oppression to fill your heart and have rejected God’s help. Most of the time, people who respond this way end up blaming God for the bad situation they created; they stay miserable and out of God’s presence of love, joy and His provision.
If you respond in the Fruit of the Spirit, there will be a totally different outcome. With peace and joy in your heart, you will be forgiving, you will pray for God to work in the heart of your offender, your temper will not flare, and you will be faithful to God. You will attempt to understand why the person acted toward you as they did. Because you walk in meekness of heart—having no self-interest, you are able to work through the issues by not taking the incident personally and avoiding self-pity or bitterness. As a result, responding out of the Spirit builds more of the character of God in our hearts. We can have compassion on them in their ignorance by praying for the release of God’s mercy and grace upon them to release them from the bondage of sin that caused them to act the way they did.
If we do not act in and by the Fruits of the Spirit, we will wrestle against people instead of the spiritual bondages that have enslaved them. We are sent to release the captives through the name of Jesus. We must be careful lest we bind the very ones that Jesus came to set free by responding out of the flesh instead of the Fruit of the Spirit.
At DivorceHope.com we deal with the many relationship issues of marriage, divorce, remarriage, abuse, etc. because that is another area where the powerful implications of the Fruit of the Spirit should be applied. The results can be either glorious or devastating depending on whether one walks in the Spirit or not.
When a husband has self-control, there won’t be physical abuse. When he is faithful, there won’t be any adultery or unfaithfulness of any kind. When his heart is filled with love and joy from spending time with the Lord, he won’t verbally abuse his wife and/or children. When he is meek (having no self interest), he will give himself to his family. And when he has cultivated goodness (which is being good toward others) and gentleness (which is excellence in character), his family loves him. He doesn’t have to be the brightest Dad, or the corporate executive. He could be the janitor at the elementary school and receive the highest honors from his family and God. The same applies for wives and mothers.
The Fruit of the Spirit must be elevated to its proper place in the Church and be taught as if our lives depended on it, because they do!