Four key areas are discussed. What is the fruit of the Spirit? How to grow the fruit? How some believers behave at times worse than non-believers? How does it compare with the virtues of the Chinese philosophies? The answers help us to effective believers.
A fruit is an outcome.You can see, touch and taste a fruit. It is a brand that characterizes. A brand is not what the seller claims but is what customers say about the product over a long time of use. A fruit is then a habit. As Stephen Covey wrote the best-seller "The Seven Habits of Effective People", the fruit of the spirit can be rephrased as, "The 9 Attractive Habits of Spirit-filled Believers". The fruit is the characters or virtues of believers. They can be compared against the virtues of other religions and philosophies as well.
All the nine attributes to be described are of the same fruit. Consider the king of the fruits, durian. It has many very distinctive attributes such as the pungent smell, the thorny and hard outer crust, the smooth, creamy, sweet and bitter taste of the flesh of the seeds. They tell quickly it is a durian. Some, what characteristics, what smell and taste, do believers have that we can tell them apart at a distance or in a close range?
The Nine Attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit
- to highlight the differences and not to confuse with their similarity. Paul wouldn't have given us the list of nine if they are all similar. He gave us to show us nine different aspects of the same fruit. So we must be very discerning.
- to let the Bible interpret the Bible. Every term should be explained within its context and if not, the other part of the Bible where the same term is used.
- what a term 'is' and what a term 'is not' helps us understand the term better. For example, a four legs furniture could be a table or a chair. We can tell table a furniture with four legs to put things on and not for sitting upon.
1) Charity. - 1 love
2) Joy. - 2 joy
3) Peace. - 3 peace
4) Patience. - 4 patience
5) Benignity. - 5 kindness
6) Goodness. - 6 goodness
7) Longanimity. - an attribute that is in 4 Patience.
8) Mildness. - 8 gentleness
9) Faith. - 7 faithfulness
10) Modesty. - an attribute that that is related to 8 Gentleness/Meekness
11) Continency.- 9 self-control
12) Chastity.- related to 7 faithfulness to one spouse.
A Shorter List Please - Only 3
Exo 33:19 And He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee, and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” Hence, Goodness includes Grace and Mercy
This is hidden in kindness and also the goodness of the Fruit of the Spirit. Kindness and goodness have an implied standards of what is right or wrong.
This is in the joy attribute of the fruit of the Spirt where it rejoices in the truth.
The answer is given by Jesus in John 15:1-2. However, most of the Bible translations got it wrong by translation the Greek airo G142 as take-away or cut-off. But looking up the Thayer's Concordance, we get the following definition:
- I Am the real vine, and My Father is the husbandman.
(Jesus is the vine and the believers are the branches)
- a. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He raiseth [from groveling on the ground] and
(Note that this non-fruit-bearing branch in already in Jesus. Verse 4-6 tells us that only those not abiding Jesus can bear fruit and those that abide not will be cast out. So this in Jesus branch should not be cast out but be cared for and raised up. There were external conditions that cause it not to bear fruit.)
b. every branch that beareth fruit, He cleanseth it, in order that it may bear more fruit.
(This branch got it right but has the potential to have more fruits. He is wasting energy on non-strategic things and hence those activities should be trimmed off and the energy channeled to growing fruit. In business, we call this Lean Manufacturing)
- Already ye are clean on account of the word which I have spoken unto you.
(How do we get cleaned? By His Words)
- Abide in Me, I also abide in you, for As the branch is not able to bear fruit of itself, if not it abide in the vine; even so neither can ye, if not ye abide in Me.
(Abide in Jesus to bear fruit)
- I Am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for apart from Me ye can do nothing.
- If a man abides not in Me, he was cast forth as the branch, and was withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
- If ye abide in Me, and My sayings abide in you, ask what ye desire, and it shall come to pass to you.
(You get what God says – our will get changed by His words so that we ask and receive according to God’s heart and will)
III Understand why believers at times behave worse than non-believers
The Purpose of Our Salvation is to Bear Fruit!
We are saved to bear fruit: salvation is the beginning & fruit is the destination
(Rom 7:4) Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
(Phil 1:11) filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
(Col 1:10) so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
(Heb 12:11) For the moment all discipline(the way and the process to bear fruit) seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Lim Liat (c) 7-7-17