“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
In considering Paul’s prayer for the saints in Philippi, we’ve gleaned great things from Paul’s desire that they would be sincere and blameless in their living before our God, being filled with the fruit of righteousness. If you recall, this fruit of righteousness is the fruit of the Spirit on display. It’s godly, Christian living springing forth from renewed hearts. Paul’s desire was that God would fill His people with such fruit.
Paul had the same desire for the flocks in Galatia and believers everywhere. O, that God would fill us with such fruit! Many of us have memorized these verses and value the fruit spoken of therein. Yet, this fruit displayed in our lives and the lives of other believers is even more beautiful and wonderful when we consider them in the contrasts that Paul paints in the preceding context of Chapter 5.
Notice Paul’s words at the beginning of the chapter as he contrasts the liberty we have in Christ vs. returning to the yoke of bondage under the law (v. 1). The saints were struggling with temptation to go back. The Judaizers were pressuring them. Their fleshly desires were tugging at them. Knowing this, Paul calls God’s people to stand fast in the liberty by which Christ had made them free. Accepting circumcision would avail them nothing (v. 2). “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but only faith working through love.” (v. 6) It was important for them, as it is important for us, to understand that “all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (v. 14-15)
There is a clear battle going on- the Spirit vs. the flesh. We know it well. The works of the flesh are evil, contentious, and hateful- “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like” (v. 19-20). It’s easy to see how these works would devour and consume, isn’t it? It’s important to see how these are contrary to love.
It’s against this dark list that Paul presents the wonderful work of the Spirit and the call to walk by the Spirit, that we wouldn’t gratify the lusts of the flesh. The contrast really emphasizes the beauty and purity of the fruit of the Spirit that He grows and causes to show forth in us. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control- truly, against such there is no law to condemn or punish us. Isn’t it amazing what the Holy Spirit gives us and brings about in us for His glory?
Beloved, we always need to grow in bearing more and more of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We have an ongoing, Spirit wrought desire that they would be more evident, as we press on in the fight against our flesh. My prayer is that God would be pleased to fill you with such fruit. My prayer is that good testimony would be given of Christ as you seek to be faithful in walking by the Spirit today and this week.