Why We Miss Out on the Fruit of the Spirit

Evan Forester —  July 30, 2012 — 1 Comment

The fruit of the Spirit is very appealing. Seriously though, who wouldn’t want to demonstrate these qualities?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

They all sound wonderful. The world is obsessed with love, joy is always a great thing to have, and the call for peace has won beauty pageants for decades. The list could go on, but how do we experience that elusive fruit?

We usually fall into the temptation of believing we need to show these qualities through our own strength. We think, “if I can just be more loving, kind, faithful, and self-controlled, I will prove that I am a christian!” We focus so hard on the fruit that we forget about the Spirit! There are two problems with this method. First, we can’t just try really hard and suddenly have peace all of the time. We’ll fail! Secondly, instead of being the fruit of the Spirit, it becomes the fruit of the Evan, or the fruit of the Brian, or the fruit of the whoever you are.

How, then, do we show and experience the fruit of the Spirit?! We obviously want it, but if trying to produce the fruit causes us to fail, then what can we do?

The answer is simple. Examine a fruit tree. Does an apple tree produce apples because it tries really hard until an apple pops out? Does a peach tree clinch its branches together until peaches sprout?

Of course not! Fruit is the natural result of a fruit tree that receives good sunlight, water, and soil. When the fruit tree is fed, it cannot help but produce fruit.

The same is true for us. We cannot hope to produce true fruit in our own power, but when we are firmly planted in the Lord, when we are fed by His Word and live in relationship with him, then we cannot help but produce fruit.

If you want peace, then don’t focus on becoming peaceful. You’ll just worry yourself about it. Instead, seek after God and He will give you peace.

If you want to be gentle, don’t get angry with yourself for failing constantly. Instead, seek after God and He will teach you gentleness.

Fruit doesn’t sprout overnight of course. It can take months, even years sometimes before it reaches it’s full potential. If you water a fruit tree once and forget about it, would you expect it to grow any fruit?

Galatians calls us to “live by the Spirit.” That means we constantly need to be fed by Him if we hope to see true growth. But each day we live in His presence, bit by bit, He changes us more and more to demonstrate the incredible fruit of the Spirit. It is an amazing thing, and it can be yours if you consistently seek Him!

What are some ways to seek after God so that you can better produce the fruit of the Spirit?

Evan Forester

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This post was by Evan, an adventure enthusiast learning to #LiveFully in New Zealand. He now writes for Embracing Exile.