Fruit NOT Fruits

We all love fruits, right? Some of us make sure we get our daily servings however we can. I know some of you would say you like some fruits but not all, and that is okay. While some of you are allergic to certain types of fruits. Can we all agree the vegetables’ crew can just have tomatoes? I love tomatoes by the way.

Are you familiar with THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT found in Galatians 5:22-23? I can safely say many of us are.

“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

While I was doing some thinking my mind somehow ended up on fruits and the Fruit of the Spirit. This happens enough for me to know it’s God trying to teach me something. One thing I quickly realized was how often Galatians 5:22-23 is misquoted. Unlike the natural fruits that we love, like, or hate the Fruit of the Spirit is ONE WHOLE FRUIT. We cannot pick and choose which part of it we need the most. While a fruit is growing you need all parts of it. I noticed that a lot of times the 9 distinct parts listed by Paul are often treated or mentioned as 9 different fruits. Verse 22 says “FRUIT” which is singular and implies it is one whole fruit with 9 various parts or layers. Paul was intentional in say fruit instead of fruits.

Fruit: “the developed ovary of a seed plant with its contents and accessory parts”

This definition of a fruit suits Galatians 5:22-23. In verse 22 of chapter 5, Paul said “but the Fruit of The Spirit is…” so the Holy Spirit is that seed plant which develops the Fruit of the Spirit with its content and accessory parts. You can tell a tree by its fruit. Others should be able to tell who we are when we are filled with the Holy Ghost. Growth should be happening in our lives in 9 areas of the Fruit of the Spirit SIMULTANEOUSLY. As they are parts that make up the one fruit. Our fruit can either stem from the Holy Spirit or from the flesh. Anything that is stemmed from the flesh produces sin and death. “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death”, James 1:14-15.

The Fruit of the Spirit deals with our moral character. Only the Spirit of God can develop our moral character to be Christlike. Christlike moral character results from the qualities that the Fruit of the Spirit produces. We must be led by the Spirit and not by our flesh. The Fruit of the Spirit is not a checklist to see which one we have, like, or prefer more than the others. It’s certainly not something we can produce on our own. I am still learning and growing in ALL parts of the Fruit of the Spirit. I don’t believe it’s something we master then pat ourselves in the back for it. I think if we are living they will continue to grow and mature in us. The Holy Spirit produces the fruit! You must first and foremost be filled with the Holy Ghost to produce his fruit.

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Fruit takes time to grow. The Fruit of the Spirit takes time to grow. Not all parts of a fruit are noticeable at a glance. Sometimes we need to cut and peel parts to see what’s underneath and at the core of a fruit. While not all parts of a fruit are edible, all parts serve an important purpose. The Fruit of the Spirit will be evident in how we live and conduct ourselves throughout our day. Paul was purposeful in his usage of a fruit to describe the unity of moral character produced by the Spirit. The different layers are connected to make up the Fruit. It’s also not a coincidence the 9 different layers can be categorized into 3 major categories as they deal with 3 different aspects of moral character.

Love, Joy, Peace

These three are a direct result of a relationship with God. It’s not possible to have them apart from God. Everything follows love. I imagine love to be the layer that covers and protect all the others. It is the foundation for all the others. Joy builds up on love and peace follows.

Long-suffering, Gentleness, Goodness

These three are the manifestation of the first three layers. When we are filled with the love, joy, and peace of God we can demonstrate patient endurance, kindness, and being good to others. They are strengthened through tests and trials. It’s not possible to consistently manifest these things in our flesh. A sincere relationship with God will teach us these things. We will be able to express the love described in 1 Corinthians 13 and Jesus talked about in Matthew 22: 34-40 concerning the first and great commandment.

Faith, Meekness, Temperance

These three layers are seen when we face oppositions, challenges, and must make difficult choices. What we believe to be true determines the course of our actions. Learning to exercise self-control doesn’t happen overnight. We grow in faith and learn to be humble.

All these nine layers are the product of one fruit produced in us by the Holy Spirit. the fruit of the spirit cannot come from anything or anyone else other than the Holy Ghost. Love is the foundation of that fruit. We learn to love God through a relationship with him and through his love we learn to love others. This fulfills the law. Paul explained the fruit of the Spirit as a direct result of a Spirit-led life which fulfills the law and not work against it. the Fruit of the Spirit is made up of qualities that fulfill the law. Paul made it clear that with this Fruit we are not under the law (verse 23). There is no law against the Fruit of the Spirit! The Holy Spirit needs to be the primary influence of our minds and moral conduct.

We need all parts of the fruit of the Spirit. unlike the natural fruits, we eat it is all important and beneficial. We need them all equally not one part more than the other. My most favorite natural fruits are MANGOES! I love LOVE, Luuuuuuvvvvve mangoes. You can take a girl off the Island, but you can’t take the island out of her. I also love avocados, strawberries, green apples, and a few other island fruits. The Lord created bananas for his monkeys, let us let them have bananas. You will not convince me otherwise. While I can pick and choose which fruits I enjoy eating I can’t live without the FRUIT of the Spirit.

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SPIRIT OF GENTLENESS

It is important that we seek God for a Spirit of Gentleness [Meekness]. It is a vital Fruit of the Spirit when it comes to dealing with other people.

It’s so important to be careful how we speak to other people or about other people. I can admit I have failed in this area countless times. I made a conscious effort to be kind and gentle. It did not always come to me naturally. Through prayer, fasting, and many test and trial this Fruit of the Spirit became evident in my life.

Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”

Proverbs 12:18 “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”

Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”

Choose to respond gently and in love towards other people. Choose words that heal. Think of words you use to describe others and consider how you would feel if these same words were used to describe you. If it’s hard for you, God is able. Ask God to help you to be gentle and choose words that are not hurtful to others. God is gentle with us. Even in our disobedience he gently led us.

God can use a heart full of gentleness. 1 Samuel 16:7 “…The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” God instructed Samuel to anoint David as king because he looked at his heart and rejected his brothers. We can’t always tell what’s on the inside. Sometimes outward appearance can cover the content of what’s truly in the heart. Acting kind and then having means thoughts or bad attitude towards others is not from a gentle heart.

There’s unfading beauty in a gentle and quiet spirit, it’s precious to God (1 Peter 3:4). People are fragile. Even more fragile and important than other things in life that holds so much weight and value to us. Our actions toward other, whether seen or unseen, can be proof of our heart’s condition. Whether it is hard or gentle. A gentle heart is gentle and kind to all, not just those we like or relate to. If we are honest, none of us deserve the kindness of God but he gave it to us anyways.

Choose to show God’s gentleness to other. Colossians 3:12 “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”