In our last two episodes, we spent significant time reviewing and understanding the Apostle Paul’s list of the deeds of the flesh in Galatians 5. His reason for such a detailed and uncomfortable list was to give us all a clear push forward and away from such things, so we can walk towards living a new life. To walk in Jesus’ footsteps and do God’s will first and foremost should be the most important aspects of any Christian’s daily life. In this episode, we continue examining the Apostle Paul’s profound contrast between the deeds of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit by methodically examining each of the nine characteristics listed. What will these nine aspects of the fruit of the spirit teach us? They teach what a true Christian life looks like, sounds like and feels like!
The Apostle Paul begins his list of the fruit of the spirit with love, joy and peace. At the outset, these seem simple. We all know Christianity is founded in love, and we all know the joy of having God in our lives. We also know that God’s plan should bring us peace. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to write these off as so basic that we can just move on to something else.
Instead, let’s pause and consider.
This list is called the "fruit of the spirit." Paul is telling us this is not the fruit - the result - of your efforts or my efforts. He is telling us that God’s own spirit, His power and influence in our lives, is what produces these results. This is in direct contrast to the desires of the flesh producing the deeds of the flesh.
Love is the first fruit on this very special and sacred list. It's first for a reason. The kind of love listed here is selfless love. It is a love that does not seek its own interest, that gives for the benefit of the receiver and not for its own advantage. This is the kind of love that “God so loved the world” with and that Jesus commanded us to “love one another as I have loved you.” This love is the absolute foundation upon which each and every fruit of the spirit that follows can be built upon. The beautiful thing is God’s spirit will produce this love within us if and only if we continually follow and grow in its leadings.
Joy and peace
The next fruit on the list is joy. Joy is dramatically underrated and usually misunderstood. Once we learn what joy is and is not, it can begin to transform our daily lives. And don’t get me started about peace, as it is another underappreciated fruit! Check out our November 21, 2022 podcast, “Do I Walk in the Spirit or the Lusts of My Human Nature? (Part III)” for more. Join us as we open up love, joy and peace as the godly characteristics they are. Prepare to be inspired!