The Fruit and The Gifts
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.1 Peter 4:10 NIV
If the light that is on you is brighter than the light that is in you, the light that is on you will destroy you. – Christine Caine
The nine-part Fruit listed in Galatians 5 shouldn’t be confused with spiritual gifts that are mentioned in the Bible. Gifts such as leadership, wisdom, pastoring, encouragement, knowledge and prophecy are given by the Spirit for the purpose of building up believers. The Fruit, however, is produced by the Spirit and is developed and displayed in us when we yield ourselves to God’s Spirit.
If we want to know how we’re growing as Christ followers, we shouldn’t focus on how gifted we are or how well we use our gifts. No, it’s the evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives that shows our spiritual maturity. Not that our gifts aren’t valuable or vital—they are. It’s just that we can operate in our gifts while we are gratifying our flesh because they are beyond us. Exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit is a manifestation of a transformed life by the power of God.
It isn’t uncommon to see men and women operate in their spiritual gifts but then immediately act in a sinful way. Why? Because God will use whomever He wants, whenever He wants, and however He wants. Maybe you’ve seen someone preach the most powerful sermon at a church or conference only to see them spew hatred to others at a later time. Or perhaps a person may give generously of their time to impact those less fortunate but then turn around and be incredibly impatient and rude with their own children.
The converse is also true. There are people all over the world who are continually exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit in their daily lives. They may be serving behind the scenes, visiting someone in the hospital, or offering their time by just being with a friend in need. Their contribution to building up believers may not be flashy, but their character is deep because they have chosen to deny their flesh and walk in the Fruit of the Spirit.
The gifts receive far more attention and accolades than the quiet, almost hidden Fruit of the Spirit. Yet, it really doesn’t take tremendous effort to operate in our gifts. The Fruit, on the other hand, involves the difficult task of dying to self everyday. The Fruit may not be shouting for attention but rest assured, we always know when the Fruit is present in our lives and when it is not.
- Do you feel that it’s easier for you to live out your spiritual gifts than walk in the Fruit of the Spirit?