Lesson 1: By Their Fruit…
The fruit of the spirit is
Not are, but is
Not fruits, but fruit.
Pause for a second and let that sink a little deeper.
This quarter we are not discussing a list of things that we are suppose to do to show the world that we are Christian. That is NOT what this is about. Unfortunately this isn’t one of those checklists in which we can grade ourselves. We can’t say we have love and not have kindness, or that we patient but not at peace.
Sorry, this is an all or nothing game.
The fruit of the Spirit is all of these things.
The fruit of the Spirit is a spirit of surrender and when you surrender all of these guys move in and take up residence in your character. It’s about dying daily to self and realizing when all is said and done you need Christ by way of the Holy Spirit to enact lasting change.
This quarter is not about doing but about being.
It’s not about the church and its doctrine or its history. It’s about you and your relationship with Christ.
My favorite passage in the Bible that I love to hate is in Paul’s second letter to Timothy the third chapter.
Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.1
What aggravates me the most about this passage is that Paul is telling Timothy this is the church. These are the characteristics of people going to church. Verse 5 shows us that these qualities do not define the heathens but the church goers. This is because the majority of self professed Christians aren’t connected to the Vine.
As each fruit is connected directly to the vine and not to another fruit we are charged to focus more on our relationship with Christ and surrender daily to him. I can’t be connected to Christ through the church I must be connected to Christ. The truth of the matter is that this is hard and so instead we create rules to change behavior in an attempt to color the true nature of ourselves. Just like we can’t paint an apple orange and expect it to create orange juice we change legislate a relationship with Christ.
So as you study this quarterly each week please remember that it’s about surrendering to Him and not checking off a list.
1 Message Translation