When we turn from sin and put our faith in Jesus, one of the great things we experience is God in us. The Holy Spirit indwells us and gives us a new heart and mind. Then, as we follow Jesus, the Spirit spends the rest of our lives reshaping and refocusing who we are and what we do.
The Spirit doesn’t bring an end to our individuality and personality, but he does empower and enable us to be the most supremely Jesus loving and deeply other loving people we can be.
In Galatians 5, Paul detailed two ways the Spirit does this–in terms of what he leads us from and what he leads us to.
If we “walk by the Spirit” then we “will certainly not carry out the desires of the flesh” (5:16). Such desires of the flesh are found in sexual immorality and misconduct, false religious ideology, bad attitudes or actions toward others, selfishness, and so forth (5:19-21). Such things as these are what the Spirit leads us from.
What the Spirit leads us to are things Paul described as fruit. These are the result of experiencing God’s grace and growing in faith. These are attitudes that produce positive actions toward others. This fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22-23).
In future posts, we’ll take a brief look at each of these traits and how they are manifested in our lives. But to close this post, a few thoughts on how we grow in the fruit of the Spirit.
- Spend time listening to God and speaking with God. In John 15:7-8, Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: That you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.” Jesus tells us to live in his word. This is how we hear from God: Opening the pages of the Bible. Read it, think on it, and seek to live it. Then, also, spend time in prayer, talking to God. These two things help produce fruit in our lives.
- Spend time fellowshiping and worshiping with other followers of Jesus. This is Ephesians 5:18-21 in a nutshell, where Paul described being “filled with the Spirit” in terms of religious practices that involve others. We sing to God together, we give thanks to God together, and we serve one another together. And the Spirit grows us as we do.
- As mentioned in #2, serve others. Paul spent several chapters in 1 Corinthians talking about the gifts of the Spirit present in our lives. All the various gifts have one purpose–to serve others. While the gifts and the fruit are not the same things, the gifts are to be manifested in our lives with the fruit, especially the fruit of love. The Spirit uses our serving of others to grow us in his fruit.
May we have hearts set on growing in the Spirit’s fruit. And next time, we’ll take a look at the fruit of love.
All scripture references taken from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).