Fruit OF THE SPIRIT
Greetings precious people. Over the next few weeks I would like to talk to you about fruit. It is not the fruit that we eat; though the fruit that we eat serves as a good illustration of the fruit that I will be speaking to you about. The fruit that I would like for us to consider is in the spiritual nature, that which comes out of our life on a daily basis.
Every one of us bears fruit in our life, it is only a question of what kind of fruit is it that we are bearing. We must ask ourselves the question, "Is my life bearing good fruit or bad fruit?" The Bible, Godís Word, reveals to us what qualifies as good fruit and bad fruit.
In Galatians 5:19-23: "Now the works (fruit) of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."
The bad fruit, the fruit of the flesh (the old fallen sinful nature) comes quite naturally and easily. We donít have to think about it or put forth any effort. They are like weeds, they spring up everywhere without any attempt or care of the gardener and they are difficult to get rid of.
Letís take a closer look at this list of "bad fruit" that we are all too familiar with. Adultery and fornication need little explanation. Adultery is being sexually involved with someone other than your spouse. Fornication is being involved with someone outside the confines of marriage. Jesus makes it clear that these acts are not limited to the physical act themselves. It goes beyond that to what is in the heart. Listen to what Jesus said about this. In Matthew 5:27-28, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." The heart is where all sin (bad fruit) originates then manifests itself in our lives through various means. Sometimes it comes out performing the physical act other times it remains secluded within our minds by way of our thoughts. Regardless of what form it takes, God sees it all.
Today, in our society, the fruit of adultery and fornication is all too common. It is not only common but also encouraged through the media and entertainment industry. Many are proud of the so-called "sexual freedom" of our day. Imagine a proud farmer boasting about a crop of rotten, bitter fruit or that he has more weeds in his garden than any of the other farmers. Sounds absurd doesnít it? Yet this is the very thing that we do in our society concerning the fruit of sin.
Other bad fruit that is mentioned is uncleanness. This is not the type of uncleanness of clothes and body that occurs after a hard days work, rather it is the uncleanness of soul that occurs when we allow sin to rule and reign within our lives. Lewdness is the acting out of that sin.
Idolatry is an inordinate affection of something or someone. Today we speak of "teen idols" and other forms of idol worship with no shame at all, excusing it as just a phase our children and others go through. Idolatry is strictly forbidden in the Bible. The Bible also reveals another form of idolatry. In Colossians 3:5, "Therefore put to death your members (the old sinful nature) which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." The advertising industry capitalizes on the covetous nature of man and makes millions of dollars each year.
Witchcraft is another fruit of the flesh, which God strongly condemns. Witchcraft is the looking to "spirits" (really demons) for power, direction, and help. It is extremely dangerous no matter how innocent Hollywood makes it look. In a later article I will address the ever-growing subject of witchcraft.
I do not know whether you noticed the similarities of this list of "bad fruit" with that which we consider entertainment. I find it amazing except for the fact that much of what is known as the world of entertainment is influenced and empowered by the powers of darkness. Have you heard the latest of the ongoing argument for not restricting the sale of violent games? Again the "experts" are telling us that there is no proof that the playing of violent video games has any influence on children becoming violent. How absurd! How foolish! But absurdity and foolishness is always a byproduct when people turn their back on God and forsake all restraint. The Bible warns of keeping bad company and the influences it will have in a personís life. In 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits." Parents would do well to know this verse and begin to practice it with their children.
The remaining of the "bad fruit" that is mentioned is hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like. Tell me honestly, is this the type of fruit that you want in your life and the lives of your children? Arenít you sick of the over abundance of this rotten fruit? I hope so, I know I am tired of it.
The fruit of the Spirit is so much better and appealing. In Galatians we read what the fruit of the Spirit is. In Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Doesnít this sound much more appealing to you? Wouldnít you like your life be full of love, joy, and peace, etc. rather than hatred, anger, and envy, etc? I know I do.
It is Godís desire that your life be full of the fruit of the Spirit rather than the rotten fruit of the flesh. He can and will cultivate this in anyoneís life that has been surrendered to Him unconditionally. Have you given your life unconditionally to Jesus Christ? If not, you can right now. It calls for a humbling of oneís will before the mighty hand of God.
Next time we will take an in-depth look at the "good fruit" the fruit of the Spirit. Until then may the Lord richly bless you my beloved.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or email@example.com
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine