When people notice the deficiencies in their fruit, they attempt to add more things into their life to try to bring the fruit out. This becomes difficult because fruit is not a direct product of works. However, Paul cleverly shows us how we can produce more fruit. Both the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit are sandwiched between two very important commands.
Verse 16 “walk by the Spirit”
Verse 25 “keep in step with the Spirit”
If you want to produce more fruit, you follow the Spirit. The more we follow the Spirit, the more we will be transformed into His likeness. As we become more like Him, our fruit will naturally become more prevalent. It doesn’t take more works to become more like Him. Scale back, listen, wait, watch, and follow. It’s just baby steps: put one foot after the other and follow the leading of the Spirit. Baby steps in the footprint of the Spirit will cause leaps in our production of His fruit.
Re:Verse passage – Galatians 5:22-25 (day five) “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25. Scripture teaches that there is a Rhythm or movement of the Holy Spirit. The challenge from Paul to these believers is remarkable. The God of the Universe, through His Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to walk WITH Him. There are “steps” we can measure that help us to be in stride with the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is both possible and beneficial. The prerequisite is that we live in the Spirit. The “Rhythm” of being in step with the Holy Spirit is not dependent on spiritual highs or lows, or good or bad circumstances, but rather daily living- faithful obedience. Throughout scripture importance is placed on walking with God on a daily basis. We must discover and practice rhythms that will keep us in step with the Spirit- prayer, worship, reading/meditating/memorizing scripture, serving others, just to name a few.
There is an obvious conflict in this passage—the Spirit and the flesh. Our lives are going to be led by one or the other. The conflict is not a congenial one either…when we belong to Christ, we crucify the flesh. Crucifixion is a violent and painful means of death. There is a great conflict or clash between the Spirit-led life and the life led by the flesh. Scripture says old things pass away, new things are come. There is no room for the flesh in the life of the believer.
Paul writes to the Galatians that to belong to Christ, our lives will necessarily exhibit the fruits or qualities of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…all things we would want in our lives. What are the character qualities that are evident in your life? Can you give demonstration of having victory over the great conflict in your life?
All good things seem to run up against a law of limits. We’ve never seen patience that won’t run out, peace that can’t be disturbed, joy than can’t be killed, love that someone can’t fall out of, faith that can’t be broken. But if these characteristics are only available while supplies last, then what we’ve called patience, or peace, or joy are not, in fact, those things. The real things do exist, though, and they are infinitely abundant. Paul says these traits are actually descriptors of life within the Trinity. They describe the way God lives. They are how the Father treats the Son, how the Spirit points to the Father, how the Son speaks of the Spirit. This is the life you have been called to learn. Do not be afraid. You’re God’s star pupil.
Re:Verse passage – Galatians 5:22-25(day one) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; vs 22-23a
We know this text well. It is one of the hallmark passages of the New Testament that we learn from a young age, but do we treat the fruit of the spirit like we are ordering from a fast food menu? “I’ll take two joys, a love, and an order of peace. I’m not really a patience or self-control guy” To quote a favorite commercial of mine – that’s not how any of this works.
I am so grateful that God has made each of us as unique, individual beings. But that individuality does not preclude the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. On our own, it is true, we may struggle to be kind or gentle, but that’s the point, isn’t it? God is not looking for people who are gentle to say – look here’s that fruit I was talking about. No, we all have access to the same work of the Holy Spirit. Knowing that we would not be patient without God’s work in our lives is part of what makes it so wonderful. Don’t limit the Spirit’s work in your life today. Seek the full menu.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Galatians 5:22-25 in our Summer Sermon Series: “Living in the Spirit” a study of the Holy Spirit.
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;” vs 2
Through this series on the Holy Spirit, we have covered what it looks like to be filled with the Spirit. We see joy, hope, love, conviction, and power through the Spirit, but one of the biggest signs of a Spirit filled life is an overflow of thankfulness.
Gratitude is the “gateway” spiritual discipline. When we begin to implement gratitude more often into our prayer life, we become much more aware of our soul’s neediness. When we are filled with the Spirit, we are keenly aware that we are not deserving of the love and grace that we have been given by God. Gratitude leads to humility. Then Proverbs tells us that humility leads to wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). Here’s the correlation: Thankfulness leads to humility, humility shows us our need to be filled by the Spirit, the Spirit grants us wisdom and discernment. The next time you are in need of wisdom from the Lord, begin with thankfulness and watch as God meets your needs.
Have you considered, what in your life requires faith? Choosing one thing over another because its future reward is greater than the immediate promise of the other?
Because of persecution, the Thessalonians had to decide if this Gospel was true and worth it. Was it worth giving up safety and security, for a future promise? Was it worth putting their family through almost certain hardship, maybe even death? At any moment, with a word, they could have chosen safety over the promises of the Gospel. But they didn’t because their assurance and joy in the future promises of the Gospel were greater than the temporary promise of safety in abandoning the Gospel. Paul attributes this kind of faith and assurance to the Holy Spirit.
I have never had to ask myself those kinds of questions. Never.
Do you have the kind of faith that is super-powered by joy in the Gospel? Would it sustain you through suffering that you could otherwise avoid?
Even though I have never faced persecution for following Jesus, would Paul describe my faith in the same way? I sure hope so. While I don’t share in their persecution, I do share in the Holy Spirit. My faith can muster, because the power of the Spirit is the same in me, as it was in the Thessalonians in the first century.
Re:Verse passage – 1 Thessalonians 1:2-6 (day five) “for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” Far too long we have settled for a weaker presentation of the gospel. What I mean by that, is we have relied on or exclusively trusted that just living a devoted Christian life would be our way to effectively share the gospel. The phrase “lifestyle evangelism” is a popular term for this approach.I’ll just live out my faith and that will be my witness for Christ. Paul challenges that mindset with his explanation of evangelism.Relying on actions alone was not his approach. There must be both words and actions. Talking and teaching were just as essential to present the gospel as deeds and attitudes. Notice as the Holy Spirit works in both the words and actions together in the life of believers, there is power. Do we talk and teach about the gospel as much as we live out the gospel?We should.We must use both (our words AND actions) to tell and show the world of the hope, love, and joy found in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Notice the fruits of the Spirit that Paul identifies as being evidenced in the Thessalonians…work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope. Faith, hope, love…these three, but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Throughout all of his writings, Paul speaks of the impact or result in our lives when the Holy Spirit is present. We cannot be ‘unaffected’ by the Holy Spirit when He is in our hearts. He is not a token we take out occasionally and flash around. He permeates our lives and is evidenced in all of our relationships… we become imitators of Christ.
What does the evidence in your life indicate? Can those around you clearly recognize the fruit of the Spirit or is your fruit mashed and spoiled? Do those who know you see Christ or do they see a counterfeit that is a poor imitation? Evidence reveals the truth!