But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5:25
Leaving the hospital, we saw a couple we knew from our church with another couple we did not know and who had come to attend to someone in crisis there in the hospital. Our friends asked us why we were there, so we told them our mother had just passed away. We expressed our confidence in the knowledge that she was with the Lord, joy because of that assurance, and thanksgiving for the life she had lived. Instead of screaming hysterically in grief or despair, we controlled of our emotions praising God even in the midst of our sorrow. Our friends extended their sympathy to us, and we left.
Later on, I received from my friend a note of condolence, in which she added another chapter to this story. She said the friends who were with her that day were not believers in Jesus. But, because of our demeanor and words of faith, hope, and joy, the non-Christian couple were amazed, asking how we could behave that way immediately after our mother’s death. Our friends were happy to report this experience had given them opportunity share the love and grace of Jesus! Not knowing whether or not their friends chose to accept God’s forgiveness through faith in His son, I loved having a small part in their hearing the gospel of salvation!
How could this be. . . joy in sorrow. . . calm in unexpected circumstances. . . faith and thanksgiving in loss? It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can exhibit these qualities even when it seems impossible. Every Christian receives the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Risen Christ, the moment he or she trusts Jesus as Savior. He is our Comforter, our Teacher, our Enabler, The Seal of our salvation, the Guarantee of our resurrection— and the One who brings the very expression of God’s nature to fruition in our lives.
The Bible often refers to seed-planting and fruit-bearing. In Genesis 3:15
, the “seed of the woman” is Jesus. Therefore, since we are indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus, we can expect the “seed” to produce the “fruit of the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) But we have a choice about that!
Paul admonished the Galatians to “walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) Wow! This means that we are to be purposeful in choosing to behave in a way that pleases God’s Spirit, allowing His attributes to be displayed. Paul warned the Ephesian believers not to, “grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” (Ephesians 4:30)
Evidently, if we do
grieve Him, He does not work in our lives as He desires. But how do we grieve the Holy Spirit of God? We grieve Him by being ungrateful, refusing to obey Him, neglecting to read His Word, and failing to pray. If we choose to do the things that do
please Him, then His character
will be made manifest in our behavior.
Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16)
Others have said our circumstances do not determine
our true character, but bring out
the character that is already in us. What good is it to enjoy the fruit of God’s Spirit only inwardly? How we live our lives is how others know that we are Christians. They can’t know that if our actions contradict our words.
In the upcoming months, some Spirit-led women will share how the fruit of the Spirit has been meaningful as they have “walked in the Spirit.” I hope it will be a source of encouragement in your own daily walk.
I am reminded of the old hymn “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” The final verse goes like this:
“Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.”
About the writer:
Diana is a former high school teacher, Sunday School teacher, and Women’s Bible Studies teacher. For many years a stay-at-home wife and mother, she is now also a grandmother to three young Oklahomans, who call her “Gigi” and currently serves as editor of Yada Yada.