“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity”
Ray Stedman, in his book, “Supreme Priority,” wrote that all the other qualities of the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are actually expressions of the first one—love:
- joy is really love enjoying itself;
- peace is love resting;
- patience is love waiting;
- kindness is love reacting;
- goodness is love choosing;
- faithfulness is love keeping its word;
- gentleness is love empathizing;
- self-control is love resisting temptation.
True disciples not only believe what Jesus says—they let His words remain in them, bearing much fruit for His glory. For example, our ability to live at peace with each other is evidence of the Spirit’s work in our lives. To be more joyful, patient, gentle, and self-controlled, we need to abide in Christ (John 15:4).
If you are not seeing as much fruit in your life as you would like, remember it takes time. The sweetest and best fruit ripens slowly. He is at work, even when we do not see Him. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
Consider the silent and invisible earthworms that continually work, breaking up the soil. Their activity is essential in the cultivation of crops and gardens. Like the lowly earthworm, the vital work of the Holy Spirit breaks up the clods of clay in our lives in order to produce Christ-likeness.
There are many unseen influences that need to be tossed out—sticks and stones of selfishness, pride, self-centeredness, jealousy, hatred, impatience, and bad attitudes; rocks of fear and doubt need to be pulverized, in preparation for sowing the Spirit’s good fruit.
We need to cooperate with God when He prunes us. He cuts off every branch that does not bear fruit and He prunes every branch that bears fruit so we will produce even more (John 15:2). Let’s pray through the list of nine qualities of fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) and ask God to help us grow these luscious clusters in our lives.
We can be fruitful and effective for Him in the orchard of life. God requires our faithfulness, and He rewards us with fruitfulness. He wants to put joy in our souls, peace in our paths, and love in our attitudes and actions.
Take a cup of kindness,
Mix it well with love,
Add a lot of patience
And faith in God above.–Helen Steiner Rice