3rd September 2013

The Fruit of the Spirit 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 (MKJV)
 

There is a tropical plant native to Central America which goes by numerous names but is often given the common name “fruit salad plant.” One source, who seems to be familiar with exotic fruits, claims that as the fruit of the plant ripens, “On the first day of the fruit, when picked, its flavour is like guava, and the second day it is like mangosteen, and the third day it is like lychee, the fourth is passion fruit taste, the fifth is sweetsop fruit; the sixth up to the eighth is grape fruit nature of taste. The best flavour is on the ninth day where the fruit becomes perfectly ripe which tastes sweet and smells good.” Another source, perhaps with differently educated taste buds, claims the fruit tastes like “pineapples and bananas and grapes and strawberries.” From the variety of flavours described, it is easy to see how the common name “fruit salad plant” arose. 

In Galatians chapter 5 Paul contrasts the works or acts of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. The acts of the flesh refer to what human beings can do of their own volition whilst the fruit of the spirit is a product of the indwelling Holy Spirit. In the above verse Paul writes about the fruit (in the Greek it takes the singular form) of the Spirit.  There is only one fruit of the Spirit but with nine flavours, with the overriding flavour being love. The fruit of the Spirit is only made possible by the living relationship between the Christian and God through Christ and in the Spirit and, being one fruit, is found to some extent in all Christians. 

The fruit flavours our relationships with God, our fellow human beings and with the self. Paul says that the fruit develops and matures as we walk in the Spirit. But Paul uses two different Greek words translated ‘walk’ in the MKJV. In verse 16 Paul states, “I say, then, walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) Here the Greek has the connotation that as we walk around in the world at large, as individual Christians, we should live under the influence of the Holy Spirit. But in verse 25 where Paul says, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25), the Greek has the meaning to walk in regular line, or march in military rank, in relation to others. If Christians walk in submission to the Holy Spirit and keep in step with Christ then, on major issues of the Christian faith, they will also be walking in step with each other. This promotes unity and harmony in the church. As individuals and collectively, let’s walk in step with the Spirit and allow the fruit of the Spirit to mature and flavour all our relationships. 

Prayer
Heavenly Father, help us to have the humility to be guided by the Spirit and walk in step with Jesus so that we might also be in harmony with our fellow Christian.
Amen
 

Study by Eddie Marsh 

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eddiemarshAbout the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends the Sheffield congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Sheffield
Please email for Meeting Place

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

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