Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in Your Life
By: Pastor Bill Schneider
The Fruit of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5:22-23 is a great study. There are 9 different virtues or attributes that comprise the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. We looked at each one of these individually in our recent Sunday morning series.
Trees do not try to produce fruit. If they have everything they need: water, sunlight, good soil and fresh air, they will naturally produce fruit. In the same way, the Holy Spirit will produce His fruit in our lives if we let Him have His way. We don’t produce the fruit, but we can cultivate the soil of our lives to enable the Holy Spirit free reign to do His will in us. Below are some important principles to remember in cultivating the fruit of the Spirit in your life.
Recognize our Shortcomings
By nature we do not exhibit these 9 virtues. In my flesh, I don’t really love anyone but myself. We need to be honest with ourselves. Compared to other people, we might be strong in 2 or 3 of these, but that is about it. But God is not looking for us to be good compared to others. His standard is much higher, and we don’t meet it. Not only do we not have these attributes naturally, we do not have the ability to produce them ourselves.
Remember the Source
It is the fruit of the Spirit. It is not the fruit of the flesh or of man. God, and God alone, is the source of these 9 virtues. We do not have them by nature. We cannot produce them within ourselves. If you want to buy a new Honda automobile, you have to go to Honda to get it. You cannot go to Ford or Toyota. They might sell you a used Honda, but if you want a new Honda, you can only get one from Honda or from someone else who got it from Honda. There is only one source of Hondas: Honda. There is only one source of the fruit of the Spirit: the Holy Spirit.
Rely on God
Knowing the source of the fruit of the Spirit is great, but we also need to understand that God alone can put these virtues within us. They are not only from Him; they are produced by Him. Our job is to yield to God and let Him produce this fruit in us. It has well been said that God will not do a work through us until He does a work in us. Romans 12:1 tells us to present ourselves as a living sacrifice unto God. Let God have His way in your life, and He WILL produce this fruit.
Renew our Minds
Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The Bible repeatedly tells us that we are cleansed by the Word of God. If you are going to renew your mind, you must be in the Bible. I always encourage people to read a chapter of Proverbs every day. It will change the way you think. If we are going to think like God thinks, we must saturate our minds with the Word of God. Getting our minds in line with God allows the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit within us.
We must keep a short sin account. Do not wait until the end of the day and pray, “God forgive me for where I have sinned.” God wants us to be specific in our confession: “I lied. I cheated. I lusted. I stole. I was dishonest. I got angry. I was prideful.” The word confess means to say the same thing. God knows what we did. We need to get in agreement with God. Sin is against God Who is perfectly holy and righteous. Don’t belittle your sin with a general confession of whatever you may have done. Confess as soon as the Spirit convicts you. Don’t wait until later. Confess and repent right away. If that means you have to do it 100 times in a day, then do it 100 times. Don’t let your sin come between you and God.
God wants us to be like Jesus. He is working on us to that end. We have a long way to go to get there. Jesus possessed all of the fruit of the Spirit perfectly. God desires to produce this fruit in us as well. If we allow God to have His way in our lives, He will produce His fruit.