“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 KJV)
Fruit! It’s how a tree is known (see Matthew 12:33). It distinguished which trees could be eaten of (see Genesis 3:3). It represents the result of what we do (see Proverbs 31:31). It is absolutely necessary (see Matthew 3:10). The many ideas that “fruit” represents is easy to comprehend and easy to focus on once the bigger picture is clarified. Once we understand what we are to produce and that we are indeed to produce, we can get it into gear and go after it. For most people who genuinely pay attention to the Word and listen to instruction, this is not a difficult concept. Most everyone wants to be productive. The challenge comes immediately after the term “fruit”. Reread Galatians 5:22-23 above again. What comes after “fruit”? That is correct, “of the Spirit.” There are usually one of a few ways we end up hearing the phrase “of the Spirit.” Instinctively, we pay extra special attention to the list that follows, make sure we do really well in each item in the list, and we get ourselves ready for the next time someone gives us a pop quiz to see how well we have done in each category. Great! Sounds like a well managed, purpose driven person.
After those of us who are human realize that we have failed those pop quizzes a few dozen times, we begin to realize that these items are fruits of the Spirit and not seeds of the Spirit. The difference being that the items in this list are not things we plant (although their seed is in them as is the case with all fruit), but are things we harvest from our efforts. The trouble is that the logical assumption is that if you do a better job of planting that you will receive a better harvest. This certainly seems right and off we go again trying to do a better job of it all next time. Yet, this assumption is deceptive. It is deceptive because it is not our fruit. If it is not our fruit, it could not also have been our seed. The passage says, “fruit of the Spirit.” It is the Spirit’s fruit. It is the Spirit’s seed (see also Matthew 1:20). “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6 KJV) It is by the surrendered obedience to Jesus that we receive this kind of fruit. The enemy may tell us that there is no harvest in that (and he may succeed for a certain number of seasons in keeping it away), but these attributes are undeniably the work of God’s hand.
How do we put a face on this or a story that we know well with this? Turn back in scripture to the gospel of John. The first forty-two verses in chapter four cover the well known story of the woman at the well. Consider the following before and after reading through this story. Had this woman made attempts at planting seeds in anticipation of fruit? Had her many trips to this well quenched her thirst more or less than the well that sprung from Jesus? Abraham’s servant waited at a well in faith to quench the need for Jacob’s father’s need for a bride; how many of this woman’s husbands were able to quench her need for love (the first of the fruits of the Spirit) as Jesus was able to do? Do you notice how joy, peace, and the other fruit’s quickly followed once she surrendered to Jesus? Notice particularly how Jesus sees this as harvestable fruit and thus cares nothing about the chaff that had previously ripened and blown away both in this woman’s life and in what the disciples were concerned about eating. “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35 KJV) This woman at the well planted in faith and received fruit of the Spirit.
Fruit! Not your fruit, but the Spirit’s fruit that is made possible by your surrender to Jesus. It really draws out why the “unpardonable sin” is really so unpardonable. If you do not surrender to Jesus, you have not the Spirit, and you ultimately have no fruit (see also John 14:15-17).
“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” (Matthew 12:31 KJV)