Life by the Spirit
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
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.Romans 13:14 NIV
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NIV
The Holy Spirit has no experience with being impatient, hateful, or rude. That’s the language of our flesh. The Fruit will be the byproduct of a life surrendered to the Spirit of God. But we are not called to focus on the Fruit; we are called to focus on God’s Spirit.
Simple enough, right?
Too often, we don’t see growth in ourselves and actually say things like, “I’m just an impatient person,” or, “I just can’t get along with certain people.” No, the truth of the matter is that when we have that mindset, we’re just choosing to walk in the flesh. In our human existence, we are the opposite of the Fruit of the Spirit.
Seeking God and asking Him to help us grow in exhibiting His Fruit will challenge us because we are choosing to deny our flesh and feed our spirit instead. We will start being placed in situations that allow the Holy Spirit to develop His Fruit within us. According to Pastor Rick Warren, “Every problem is a character-building opportunity.” It is no joke to withhold from our flesh what it wants. Because…
Our flesh wants to get even, but the Spirit calls us to love and extend kindness.
Our flesh wants to entertain sinful thoughts, but the Spirit calls us to walk in self-control.
Our flesh wants to dictate with moodiness, but the Spirit calls us to walk in joy and peace.
What if, going forward, we truly lived out Romans 13:14 that tells us to clothe ourselves with Jesus and to not even think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh? Every day we put on Jesus, obey the Spirit’s leading and basically ignore our flesh. It’s all about where we look and what we look to for satisfaction.
As we give the Spirit more control of our lives, He begins to do in and through us what only He can do—to shape us and grow us to look like Jesus. We are literally being transformed and when we do, we can see our own growth as we go through life following Jesus.
Instead of avoiding change, our prayer should be, “God, do in me whatever you need to do so that I will exhibit your Fruit.” We must quit running from growth and thinking we can’t change. We can change because we have the power of the Holy Spirit propelling us toward it. The Fruit of the Spirit becomes part of us when we walk in obedience to the Spirit.
- Do you tend to make excuses for the character traits in your life that are hard to achieve, or do you work hard to overcome those deficiencies?
- Think of one excuse about yourself that you just keep using and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to grow in this area.