22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
By Darell Dauenhauer
I read Paul’s reference to the fruit of the spirit and am challenged. Rarely do I read these fruits without feeling inadequate. If I was honest, I hang on to the few that I might score favorably and try to dismiss some of the others as unattainable. Yet I feel like there has been more transformation in my walk with God now, than in previous years. Performance and perfection are unfair gauges to progress. There is way too much emphasis on me, rather than on the work Jesus is doing in me. Sorry for using me as an example but this seems easier to address a concern I see in this scripture.
The reality is we will never measure up. The day I think I’ve mastered these various characteristics of spiritual fruit, is the day pride and arrogance now rule my gauge of progress.
Dr. Sirstad suggested a little book called “The Freedom of Self-forgetfulness” by Timothy Keller. This is a must read if we are to understand how to truly understand the fruit of the spirit. The core message in Mr. Keller’s book is comparison. How much do we care what people think of us? How much do we think of ourselves? How much importance do we put on what Jesus thinks of us?
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
When the Apostle Paul lists the fruit of the spirit, there needs to be barometer or a way to gauge the amount of Holy Ghost present. If we are full of the Holy Ghost, there will be a self-awareness or critiquing our character. We call it being sensitive to the Holy Ghost or hearing that still small voice. Every one of the fruits mentioned are Christ-like features that come with a connection to Jesus. They all come from the same source, His presence and Spirit.
Let’s take one of these: meekness, the definition is gentleness and humility. True meekness comes when we are not swayed by what people think of us or what we think of ourselves. Rather we ask, “What does Jesus think of me?” His critiquing of me is really all that matters. The question is, do I listen when His word and His voice convict me of something I’m doing? The opposite of that is do we think more of what someone else thinks of us and gauge our actions and thoughts on that faulty scale?
I find myself being challenged daily to err on the side of righteousness instead of selfishness or worldliness. I know that’s a broad brush, but I want to always look to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, for affirmation, direction and acceptance.