Fruit of the Spirit Part IV
How can I grow in The Fruit of the Spirit?
Look over the first part of this series and read the descriptions of the Fruits, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, or any of the sixty-plus godly characteristics on the list that He calls us to emulate and put into our relationships. These are essential to growing a healthy and lasting relationship. You can examine the descriptions, look up the Scriptures, and then ask yourself these six questions:
- Is this Fruit working in me?
- How do I now exhibit this Fruit in my daily life?
- How can I use this Fruit to develop a better willingness to respond to others-especially to the ones I love-with a since of awe and fear of God, and respect for people?
- What blocks this Fruit from working and being exhibited in me?
- How can I make this Fruit function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
- Think through the steps you would take to put this Fruit into action in a specific instance, or, to improve it. Consider the examples from the passages in God's Word.
And do not forget to be in prayer during all of this. Have someone you trust hold you accountable or get in a small group to learn and practice.
So, how is your "Fertility?"
That is, how is the Fruit of the Spirit growing in you? How should His Fruit be growing in and through you? Keep in mind that it means Christ comes through you in all things and times! Our faith will be tested-not to attack or cause us to fail-but to teach us to be more faithful, stronger, and better so we can be better to those around us. God wants us holy and pure in Him.
To make us pure, He needs to prune and refine us. This is not drudgery, but an opportunity to become more than we could ever be on our own. Our growth in Him comes from faith, spiritual maturity, and character development. These are things more precious than any gold, personal success, or financial portfolio. As we go through the tough stuff of life, we will grow and become stronger. We will worship Him more deeply and purely. We will honor Him more deeply, more relevantly, and touch the lives of others more deeply, too.
Life is not about our wants, needs, or comfort; it is about Christ working in us more powerfully and triumphantly. The key to turn on this engine of our spiritual formation is our willingness to pursue, endure, and grow. Allow the holiness of our Lord, His grace, His patience, understanding, faith, loyalty, goodness, and love to be exhibited in you-not by imitation, being fake but imitating Christ with gratitude and submission, kept by His power (1 Cor. 1:30; Col. 1:27; Gal. 5:21-23; Eph. 5:1; Phil. 2:1; Heb. 6:12; 1 Pet. 1:5)!
Are you Active with the Fruit of the Spirit?
Why be active with the Fruit of the Spirit? Because Christ has made us right with God. So, how do we live that faith out in our daily lives? We can only begin to fathom all the precious privileges and wondrous blessings given to us by Christ. We have the responsibility to act upon them for the growth of our faith, character, and maturity. In addition, we are called to grow in Him! Why? Because when we receive a faith and salvation that we do not deserve or have not earned, we consequently respond with gratitude for what He has given, and we will desire even more. But to be so, we need Christ's empowerment. This will come from knowing Him, growing in Him, and then having that desire for more. This means we are being called on to be productive and useful in the Kingdom as well as the community. If not, we are in disobedience and ignoring His love and gifts for us. Why would a Christian not want to be productive for the Kingdom (Phil. 4:8-9)?
Christ has called us to a faith that is real, impacting, and growing. That faith is precious and genuine because it is freely given to us. We are to take what we are given and then add more to it. We obtain faith then add more faith to it. As a Christian, we have faith to begin with; we are called to multiply it. Just like the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30), we are expected to invest and develop further what is given to us, not for personal gain, but rather to glorify Christ and bring honor and growth to His Church. The key to faith's multiplication is answered here¾our knowledge and devotion of Christ (2 Pet. 1: 1-4). The more we know and then subsequently apply to our lives, the more we grow; this is reciprocal. But knowledge can't be divorced or separated from action; you have to put it in your life. We are to apply what we learn so it transitions from our minds and hearts to our hands and feet. We have this in our mutual relationship in Christ, thus we can take what is given and make of it ever so much more. Cultivated faith in Him produces immeasurable, divine blessings!
Christ has given to us all we need in order to grow. We have His Spirit, His Word, His Fruit, and our faith community. This does not even include the countless resources we have in our modern age such as books, curriculums, the internet, and so forth. He has called us and empowered us, so what more could we expect? The clincher is that we have the responsibility to make it happen. Our faith is in our hands. He gives us the water, the fertilizer, the ground, the air, the "SON," and the seed. He even plants it! All we have to do is cultivate what He has given. What stands in the way of the cultivation of our faith? Usually, it is not recognizing or taking to heart His promises, which leaves us unsure of what we can do.
The true application of the Christian life comes only from the result of a life that is transformed!
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2
You may do good works without Christ, but they are out of a sense of obligation and guilt, and not out of a response to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who has covered our old, sinful nature by creating a willing and loving heart to model the Fruit and character of our Lord!
Is your Relationship with Christ Growing?
The Fruit of the Spirit is all about authentic faith developed from our growing relationship in and knowledge of Christ that is revealed to us as the foundation of our faith. We are being directly called to make every conceivable effort to put into practice our faith and the Fruit that is given to us and is at our disposal to use. Our faith is the benefit we have as Christians, just like working for a company and having a retirement account as well as various other benefits. Employers are not always obligated to do so, but in order to make a healthier and more productive work environment, they do. The employees are responsible to sign up and use the benefits. If they do not, those benefits will not be available for use. Their use is not mandatory, but needed and necessary for life. The parallels are similar with what God has given us. He is not obligated to give to us out of His love and grace, but He does so because of that love and grace.
© 2000, 2009 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools, www.discipleshiptools.org/