Actively Living in Christ Produces Fruit - Galatians 5:16-25

Actively Living in Christ Produces Fruit

Our current landlords own some apple and pear trees. In the fall, they let us pick apples and pears and fill as many baskets as we want. We use an extendable picker to pluck the fruit from the tree. There are some that are fantastic and taste amazing. Some have been eaten by the birds. Others have already fallen from the tree and are rotting on the ground. 

Throughout the year, the tree is actively growing these apples and pears to be picked and provide enjoyment to those who harvest those fruits. From our perspective, the production of the fruit is very passive, and we just have to wait and see. Isn’t this also the truth with God in our lives? He is sitting there, waiting for us to grow in Him so He may produce fruit through us. He helps us on our way and gives us the nourishment we need. 

Galatians 5:16-25
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Walking is an act and takes action. Biomechanically, it takes the coordination of many muscle groups and the nervous system in your body to produce the ability to walk. Multiple systems in your body must work together to allow you to take a step forward. Paul calls us to ‘walk’. However, walking requires direction. Our lives are not a treadmill or hamster ball, although it may seem like it is at times. Once we are walking, we are to be led by the Holy Spirit. This signifies a personal and intimate relationship. You are allowing the Holy Spirit to take hold and guide you. 

Why is this important? Because the Holy Spirit and the desires of the flesh are complete opposites. Neither can coincide with the other. When the desires of the flesh enter our lives, we no longer allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. The Holy Spirit is still there, waiting for us to let go of our desires and turn around the reengage Him. 

Paul knows that we are human and struggle. Walking with Christ and being led by the Holy Spirit can be difficult at times. Paul points out the ‘works of the flesh’ to the Galatians. They were probably already aware, but sometimes having a reminder helps us realize how lost we can be. Some of these things we may not be able to overcome by ourselves. Paul uses the word ‘works.’ This indicates an action performed by us. The Holy Spirit is not forcing us to do these things. This requires a conscious decision for these ‘works’ to occur. 

But…Paul counters the ‘works of the flesh’ with the opposite qualities produced by the Holy Spirit. The fruit is nothing that we can produce on our own accord. The fruit is a product from the Holy Spirit working through us. When we are actively walking and being led by the spirit, these fruits are a byproduct of our personal relationship. 

Love: First and foremost. This is the greatest quality. Without love, we are nothing

Joy: An emotion. Being elated and completely filled with the spiritual joy only produced by the Holy Spirit. 

Peace: The ability to have complete freedom produced by our salvation in Christ. 

Patience: Submissive and humble according to the will of God in our lives. Abandoning our own desires and allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us on God’s timetable. I like that other Bible translations use the word ‘longsuffering,’ having the endurance and fortitude to withstand and remain steadfast. 

Kindness: Having integrity and showing compassion and sympathy toward others in a similar manner to the attitude of God. 

Goodness: Working for the benefit of others. Being generous. Having uprightness of the heart. 

Faithfulness: The characteristic of being reliable and trustworthy. 

Gentleness: Being meek and mild disposition. Being teachable and mild-mannered. 

Self-Control: Having mastery of our own personal desires. 

Since we have crucified the flesh and actively walk by the Holy Spirit, we have the ability to grow and produce these by-products so that they are nourishing and uplifting to others around us. As we live in the Holy Spirit, we are to ‘keep in step’ with the Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit be the leader of our path and direction. Communicate and follow while remaining humble in the love of Christ. 

As we live our lives and go throughout our days, let us remember that our walk in Christ must be active. Walking requires action, and so does our growth and relationship with God. The more we walk and keep in step with the Holy Spirit, the more these fruitful qualities emanate from us. Find the time to have a personal and intimate relationship with God. Let the Spirit guide your steps as you live your life…the life God wills for you. 

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