Learning How To Use The Fruit Of The Spirit
One Day when I was in 7th grade I was helping out at church when a lady asked me to put money in the parking meter for her. I had never put money in a parking meter before but I’d seen my folks do it so I was sure I could. I got to the meter and put in a coin but the time didn’t change. I put in another and another and the same thing happened. I panicked as my handful of change was quickly disappearing. Something was wrong! Then I looked closely at the meter. I hadn’t noticed the different slots for nickels, dimes and quarters. I was just pumping coins in not paying attention to where I put them. I was putting the coins in the wrong slots so I wasn’t getting the benefit I was supposed to get. I put a coin in the right spot and quickly filled the meter with change to spare.
I had more than enough resources to do the job but didn’t know how to use them.
The Fruit Of The Spirit As A Resource
Paul tells us the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” Galatians 5:22-23. The word “fruit” is singular. All these aspects of it are present at the same time.
The fruit is “of the Spirit” meaning the Spirit produces it in our lives. But what is the fruit? What are these nine things? Are they feelings? Emotions? Character traits? When you say you have the fruit of the Spirit, what do you have?
The answer is they are desires produced by the Spirit. They are available to us to use anytime we need them. We know they’re desires because of what Paul says a few verses earlier in this chapter.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Galatians 5:16-17
He tells us what the desires are in verse 22-23 calling them the fruit of the Spirit.
We know what it feels like to have a desire from the flesh. When someone treats us wrong the flesh often produces a desire to get angry. Wouldn’t it be great if the Spirit produced a good desire to counteract that bad desire? He does!
One desire the Spirit produces is gentleness which is a mild emotional response. When anger rises up stop. Think this, “I don’t want this desire, instead I’m going to choose to respond with gentleness.” And you do. It helps to pray “Father, help me choose to be gentle now.”
The fruit of the Spirit are like those coins I had in my hand. I didn’t know how to use them. More on this tomorrow, but try it today! When an evil desire hits, think about which aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is the good desire you need. Choose it and act.
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