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One way for me to draw closer to God is to grow in my knowledge of God. And a way to grow in my knowledge of God is to grow in character, becoming more like Christ and reflecting the fruit of the Spirit. To be fruitful is a choice. A choice that I must make daily, chosing to walk in the Spirit.
“This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would . But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” Galatians 5:16-18
The flesh and the Spirit are on opposite sides of the spiritual battle!
The Holy spirit is infinitely stronger than I am. If I rely on my own wisdom, I will make wrong choices. If I try to walk in the Spirit by my own human effort, I will fail. My only way to freedom from my natural fleshly desires(Galatians 5:19-21) is through the empowering of the Holy Spirit.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
To abide means “to continue permanently or in the same state; to be firm and immovable”, according to the 1828 Webster Dictionary. Some synonyms of abide are accept, stand for, endure, remain, and concede.
The fruitful branches are true believers, who by doing God’s work here on earth, are bearing much fruit and bringing God glory, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:8 On the other hand the unfruitful branches, those who turn back from following Christ, will be separated from the vine.
John 15:2 tells us that “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” Fruitful branches are sometimes cut back to promote growth. Sometimes, God must discipline us to strengthen our character and faith. But branches that don’t bear fruit are cut off. They are worthless.
“Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:” Job 5:17 “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” Hebrews 12:6. “For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.” Hebrews 12:10
When a born-again child of God heads for sin or refuses to resist temptation, our Heavenly Father brings chastening into his life to direct him back to holiness. Even though we make mistakes and mess up God does not stop loving us or using us. God always forgives the truly repentant heart so that our relationship is restored.
If I want the fruit of the Spirit to grow in me, I must join my life to Christ’s. I must know Him, love Him, and imitate Him, which will result in loving God and man, which is the greatest commandment(Matthew 22:36-40).
“That ye may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:10
As I study the fruit of the Spirit and apply it to my life I will walk worthy of the Lord and increase in my knowledge of God. I must continue to grow daily because the knowledge of God is so vast, and deep, and wide, and high that I could never possibly attain it. So I must be intentional daily to study God’s Word and grow in knowledge.
Fruit is the direct result of whatever controls my heart. True fruitfulness begins in the heart with the fruit of the Spirit. That inner fruit affects outward actions such as my words, my attitude, and my activities which in turn affect my ability to be the wife, mother, Christian, church member, and citizen that God wants me to be. By growing the fruit of the Spirit in my heart I will grow closer to God, glorify the Lord, and move closer to accomplishing God’s will for my life.
As the fruit of the Spirit becomes more evident in my life I can trust that the Holy Spirit is working to conform me to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29)
So I am going to begin a study series on the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, one characteristic at a time, beginning with love. Won’t you join me?
What are some ways you study God’s Word?
Many Fruitful Blessings!