Fruit of the Spirit

1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery … 13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  (Galatians 5:1 & 13-25)
The Apostle Paul couldn’t be any clearer. The purpose of the Christian life is freedom. God didn’t merely save us to forgive us and to leave us in the same state in which he found us. He forgave us in order to set us free!

When we read about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, it is utterly beautiful.  Who wouldn’t want to change their energy supplier from ‘the flesh’ to ‘the Spirit’? The transformation is amazing. Pause for a moment and imagine how life would be if you and everyone around you were characterised by the fruit of the Spirit.

God’s goal for your life on this earth is that you grow to become more and more like him – that you become more and more full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This doesn’t come by trying harder to be ‘a nice person’. Most of us have tried that and found we just can’t keep it up. We grow in the fruit of the Spirit by getting to know God better and walking more closely with him. He is fully committed to growing this fruit in your character, and he will use all manner of people and circumstances in your life to do that – often especially those which are difficult or uncomfortable.

The devil has a counterfeit freedom that he offers us. He tells us that, since we have been forgiven for our sins, we don’t need to change our lives at all. We’ve got our ticket to heaven and we are free to embrace all of the guilty pleasures of the world. That’s why the Apostle Paul is so firm with us that the freedom that God gives us empowers us to “crucify the flesh”, not to indulge it. Look at the list of actions that the flesh empowers us to take in verses 19-21. Who would want to live like this? Aren’t these things the source of so much of the trouble in our world?

So let’s make a choice today – or, to use more biblical language – let’s recognise the covenant that God has made with us and that we have made with God. We have entered into a military alliance with the Lord to partner with his Spirit in waging war against our own flesh. We have switched sides in the spiritual battle. Pray to the Holy Spirit today and confess to him that he has become your new commander-in-chief. Tell him that you have switched sides and that you want him to empower you to crucify the flesh and to bear the fruit of the Spirit today.
  1. Which aspects of the fruit of the Spirit do you need to grow in most at the moment?
  2. Are there any circumstances in your life that you are praying for God to change but that, in fact, he may be using in order to help you grow in these areas?
  3. When did you last ask the Lord to fill you more and more with his Holy Spirit so that you can grow more and more in the fruit of the Holy Spirit? What’s stopping you from doing so right now?
Father God, I thank you that you have saved me through the blood of your Son and that you have filled me with your Spirit. May I overflow more and more with the Holy Spirit, and may those around me notice more and more of the fruit of the Spirit in my life. Holy Spirit, I worship you as God, and I believe that you dwell inside me. I hail you right now as my commander-in-chief, as we war together against the sin that persists in my soul. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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