There are so many examples in Scripture that relate our lives to “fruit-producing” things. There are olive branches, oak trees, fruit trees..etc. As we study these principles it becomes obvious that our lives should be producing something! The fruit we see that comes from living things, in the natural, indicates to us that a change has taken place inside of a plant or tree that we cannot necessarily see but we know must be possible because of the end result-fruit! Matthew 7:20 states, “Therefore, by their fruits, you will know them.” In context, this passage is showing us how to discern false prophets. Scripture says that even though they may be wearing sheep’s clothing, their fruit will eventually give them away. How much more true is this principle for the Body of Christ during this time in which we are living? When what we say we believe is so easily questioned, the fruit coming from our lives will be the determining factor of the kind of inward life we are living.
In Galatians 5:23 the writer ends the list of the fruits of the Spirit with “strength of spirit”. (The Passion Translation) In the NKJV it is listed as “self-control”. When studying this, we asked ourselves, “how do self-control and strength of spirit correlate with each other? As we prayed and studied, God revealed that when we allow the Holy Spirit to continually have the freedom to transform our lives, He produces within us a strength of spirit that gives us the ability to have self-control. We are, in our unredeemed state, creatures of flesh. And, as we know, our spirit and our flesh are almost continually contending with each other. However, this Scripture shows that as we allow the Holy Spirit to change us, our spirits become more and more strengthened so that we do not continue making decisions and reactions out of flesh. The fruit of HIS SPIRIT begins to produce self-control, making our lives look more like Him!
II Peter 1:5-8 holds this hopeful promise..“So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness add understanding, and to understanding add the strength of self control and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love. Since these virtues are already planted deep within, and you possess them in abundant supply, they will keep you from being inactive or fruitless in your pursuit of knowing Jesus Christ more intimately.”
What an incredible promise; when we receive Him we receive these virtues in seed form and they are planted deep within. It is our responsibility to water them and let them grow by giving the Holy Spirit access to the deepest parts of our lives. So, not only does Scripture tell us that the Holy Spirit will produce strength of spirit in us, but that strength of spirit will ensure that we do not live a barren and fruitless life but a strong, active and fruitful life-pursuing an intimate relationship with Jesus! Let’s ask ourselves today, “Is strength of spirit or strength of flesh ruling in my life?”
Lord, today let your Holy Spirit rule in our lives and produce stronger spirits in us. Show us how we can allow You to produce self-control in us so that we are not barren in our pursuit of intimately knowing You! We want to know You more and we want Your fruit to be a testimony to others of the goodness of our great God so they will want to know You more. Make us STRONG today, Lord!