Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 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.
I was telling Ev about our tomatoes. I put out a little wooden planter box that sits on the ground. I didn’t think it would work but it has. I thought the weeds would grow through it but they haven’t. He told me they have a volunteer tomato plant at the downspout. It has some really good ones on it. The tomatoes are the fruit.
Notice the contrast of flesh and Spirit and law and grace. The works of the flesh are actions that come from an unconverted or a carnal heart. The sin is in the heart. Unbelief has a deep root from lack of love. From the people’s attitude of not loving and appreciating God comes all these works. A person who refuses to love and acknowledge his Creator is capable of anything.
The Bible tells us believers are known by their love. There is no fruit on the fleshly side because its not usable. We want fruit to be edible and usable. Paul said the fruit of the spirit is love. Nine of them are mentioned but 8 are the expansion of that one fruit. That identifies the type of tree. A tree bears one type of fruit and as Christians we’ll bear it. All the law is fulfilled in this fruit: love.
The first thing to be out of the equation for any of the commandments to be broken is love. All of them are tied in with love. When we couldn’t keep the law, guess who supplied the love–Jesus. We’re Christians because of God’s love. The Spirit is with us and the fruit is love.
- Naturally joy will come because it is love triumphing. Without love there can’t be joy. Our love may be limited. It wanes and ebbs. God’s love is always 100%. The more of his love we allow, the more joy we have.
- Peace is love making us be at rest. Where is the peace in this world? It won’t happen apart from love. Resting in HIS love brings peace. Loving each other gives real peace.
- Longsuffering is patience. It’s being able to love no matter how rough and how long it takes. If we keep loving, we find patience to keep going. In a family it takes reciprocal love. We demonstrate it. That gives patience.
- Gentleness is love in the behavior through trials and conflicts of life. God helps us to be good and gentle by giving us a love that helps us choose to show them. The fruit of the Spirit is love and we can possess and show gentleness and goodness.
- Faith–we would think this should be the first fruit because we can’t be saved without faith. But the work of faith is love. How were we saved? Where did it begin? Was it faith? No. We had to be convicted. What stirred up the see of faith? It was the love of God! The Bible says that God gave us (commended) his love in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. That enabled faith to come. We can trust someone who loves us that much. Love is not the fruit of faith. Faith is the fruit of love.
- Meekness works on our attitudes. We have trouble with our old man. There’s a lot in my character I need to tame. We are not to walk after the flesh but the Spirit. Love gives us the ability. Instead of flying apart and being haughty and uncorrectable it helps us be meek. Love helps us control our passions so we can choose to be meek.
- Temperance–when the tongue wants to wag, the fruit speaks up. God helps us with the works of the body in our temptations. We can use our eyes or our speech to sin. God gives us the way out. Paul said I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. God gives us the power through love. If we love God with all our heart, we put him first and find the ability to control ourselves.
Think about how it works. There is the letter of the law and the Spirit of the law. The main focus is the Spirit. The letter is thou shalt do this or else. Thou shalt not do this or else. We can get all the “or else’s” down but don’t forget the Spirit of the law. It’s love.
Let’s go back to the tomatoes. What came first? Leaves? Tomatoes? No. It was the stalk. The stalk brings leaves and then comes fruit. It is the connection to life. Jesus is our stalk and the connection to God. The leaves come out. Leaves are how we know a tree is alive. Without leaves it will die. We must live and walk in the Lord. That produces a leaf whose fruit is love. The one word–love.
Our one request probably should be for the Lord to fill our heart with love. We’ll be a better and happier Christian when we let love do its work in us and produce the rest of the fruit.