Friday, December 15, 2017

Holy Spirit Study - Week 3

There is great discussion about the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Bible, AND the Bible also talks about fruit of the Holy Spirit. These fruits are other gifts of the Spirit but are a little different than spiritual gifts. The listing of these fruits is found in Galatians:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
What is the difference between a fruit and a gift? What does this difference mean in relationship with these fruits of the Spirit?
There is something fundamentally different between a gift and a fruit. A gift usually has little to nothing to do with the thing that receives the gift. When we get a gift, we usually did not do anything to earn the gift, and the only thing required from a gift is that we receive it. A fruit is fundamentally different, since a fruit is produced from the thing that has it. 

A gift usually has nothing to do with the thing receiving the gift. A fruit is produced from the nature of the thing making the fruit.

Think about an apple tree. Generally, we know an apple tree by the fact that it produces apples. The tree itself is known by the fruit it produces. An apple comes from an apple tree because it is an apple tree. The nature of the apple tree is to produce apples. It cannot produce oranges, and even if it could, it would have to be known by a different name, since it is not just an apple tree. Its purpose and nature is to grow apples.

The same is true with us. Paul lists these fruits that come from the Holy Spirit for a reason. Just as the apple tree produces apples, so too are we called to produce fruit. If we are followers of Jesus, it is essential that we producing these fruits. 

While the Holy Spirit may have activated these fruits in our lives, it is us who produce them. What this means is that for you and me to produce love on the outside as a fruit, we must have love on the inside. It is true that it is only because of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, that we can produce these fruits, but it is equally true that we are the ones who produce the fruit. 

The Holy Spirit, like a dove, brings these beginnings of the fruits to us, but the fruit presents itself on the outside because of our inside nature. When we are being formed into the image of Jesus Christ by daily yielding ourselves to Jesus, the Holy Spirit works these fruits inside of us changing our nature. Who we are becomes formed and reformed into the nature of Jesus, which is what creates in us the ability to produce these fruits on the outside.

The purpose of the Holy Spirit is not just to give us good gifts like faith, healing, prophecy, and others, but the Holy Spirit also helps us develop and work out various fruits of the Spirit inside of us. While we do not control the gifts of the Spirit, we do control and influence the fruits of the Spirit. Each of our abilities to produce the fruit of the Spirit is directly related to our willingness to work out these fruits inside of us first. Our nature must be love, joy, peace, patience, etc. if we are to show love, joy, peace, patience, etc.
If the positive is true here, the negative is also true. The positive would be that a person who shows love must have love in their nature, while the negative would be that a person who has hate on the outside must not have a nature of love on the inside. 

A follower of Jesus, who is being formed into the image of Jesus, truly gets this dunamis power from the Holy Spirit as each that persaon submits to God’s will and reign in their lives. When this submission is more important than our own desires and selfishness, the fruit of the Holy Spirit permeates all of who we are from the inside to the outside.
To put it simply, if the fruit on the outside is rotten, the heart on the inside must be rotten, as well. That might seem harsh, but this truth is exactly what Paul is trying to get at as he stresses that the fruit must be present in the life of the follower of Jesus Christ. 

The great thing about the fruit, though, is that even if the fruit is rotten, God can change the nature of the heart on the inside. Rotten fruit does not have to remain, since God can renew and change us from the inside out. God does this renewal through the salvation found in Jesus Christ and the process of sanctification (being made holy) through the daily power and working of the Holy Spirit.

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