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The Fruit of the Spirit - God's Spirit

The Power to Transform Your Life

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The Fruit of the Spirit - God's Spirit: The Power to Transform Your Life

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People want power! Car power and computer power. Political, economic and military power. Physical and mental powers. And spiritual power.

Tragically, however, most people search for help in the wrong places. Some believe they have an inner psychic power they can uncover and unleash. Others are convinced there is a mysterious “universal energy” they can align with or tap into. Some even turn to outright spiritism.

Many people put their hopes in one of the countless false religions, either non-Christian or counterfeit Christian. They may choose an ancient “ism” or some New Age philosophy. A cafeteria approach is also common, where a person picks ideas from several religions to create a combination
he likes.

The awesome power of God’s Holy Spirit

What mankind most needs is spiritual power from our Creator God—the force He offers that can govern our lives, solve our problems and lead us to real peace. It is the fuel of spiritual transformation. And most importantly, for those who receive that Spirit, “If he plants in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit he will gather the harvest of eternal life” (Galatians 6:8 Galatians 6:8For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
American King James Version×
, Today’s English Version).

It’s exciting to understand the reality of the Holy Spirit and how God uses it! But what exactly is it?

First of all, it is not something we are born with. It can only be received as a divine gift from God after one believes the truth of the Bible, repents of his sins and is baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38-44 Acts 2:38-44 38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came on every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
American King James Version×
).

Secondly, contrary to popular tradition, the Bible reveals that the Holy Spirit is not a third person in a Trinity. (In fact, the word “trinity” is never mentioned in the Bible. It is hardly mentioned in historical records until about three centuries after the writing of the Bible was finished!)

In reality, the Bible shows that the Holy Spirit is the nature and essence of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. In fact, “God is Spirit” and the source of the Holy Spirit (John 4:24 John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout). “The Spirit,” “the Spirit of God” and “the Spirit of Christ” are used synonymously in Romans 8:9 Romans 8:9But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
American King James Version×
.

In the Bible, God’s Spirit is compared with water (that one is “baptized with”), rivers (that “flow”), oil (that is “poured out”), a cloud (that “filled” the temple) and fire (that one can “quench” or “stir up” to rekindle). These comparisons would not make sense were the Holy Spirit a person.

God’s Spirit emanates from Him and radiates everywhere, which explains the omnipresence of God—how God can, in effect, be present everywhere at all times. As David wrote: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalms 139:7 Psalms 139:7Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence?
American King James Version×
).

God’s “broadcasting” by His Spirit has been easier to understand since the invention of radio and television. We can enjoy sights and sounds in our own homes as much as if we were in the faraway TV studio. We can get perfect “reception” from God no matter where we are.

God uses His Spirit as His “remote control.” When “God created the heavens and the earth,” He used the power of “the Spirit of God” (Genesis 1:1-2 Genesis 1:1-2 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.
American King James Version×
). After praising God’s creation, the psalmist wrote, “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth” (Psalms 104:30 Psalms 104:30You send forth your spirit, they are created: and you renew the face of the earth.
American King James Version×
).

Ever since creation, God has used His Spirit to sustain and maintain the universe—everything from the largest galaxies to the smallest subatomic particles. All creation functions perfectly according to the laws of nature—which God put in force and keeps in force.

God not only disseminates knowledge by His Spirit, but His Spirit brings Him awareness of all things. “You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off . . . For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether” (Psalms 139:2-4 Psalms 139:2-4 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up, you understand my thought afar off. 3 You compass my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, see, O LORD, you know it altogether.
American King James Version×
). Thus, by His Spirit God is omniscient, which means He has total knowledge!

And God is omnipotent —having universal and unlimited power! He is El Shaddai —God Almighty. Therefore, “with God, all things are possible” (Mark 10:27 Mark 10:27And Jesus looking on them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
American King James Version×
), whether it is parting the Red Sea, changing water to wine, healing the sick or resurrecting the dead. With every miracle, God is using the infinite power of His Spirit.

Perhaps the most far-reaching miracle was the incarnation of God when the Father sent His Spirit to impregnate a young virgin named Mary (Matthew 1:18-20 Matthew 1:18-20 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, you son of David, fear not to take to you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
). That was Jesus Christ’s first coming. The next great highlight in His story will be His second coming!

The greatest ongoing miracle

That brings us to the world’s greatest challenge—the transformation of human nature! This spiritual conversion is taking place in the people God has called and who are submitting and committing their lives to Him.

Compared to instantaneous miracles, it is a slow process because God has given human beings free will—freedom of choice. Like a master potter with his clay, God patiently forms His nature in us as we yield to Him.

The big challenge is the rebellious nature of man! Jesus Christ cited the evils that come “out of the heart of men” (Mark 7:20-23 Mark 7:20-23 20 And he said, That which comes out of the man, that defiles the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
American King James Version×
). Paul related the corruption in people’s character when they turn their backs on God (Romans 1:24-32 Romans 1:24-32 24 Why God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
American King James Version×
). Later he explained how humanity’s evils “will grow worse and worse” in the end time (2 Timothy 3:1-13 2 Timothy 3:1-13 1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest to all men, as their’s also was. 10 But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
American King James Version×
).

Paul also called the ugly traits of human nature “the works of the flesh.” He concluded his list by saying “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21 Galatians 5:19-21 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×
).

Like noxious weeds in a vineyard, sins must be eradicated. “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5 Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
American King James Version×
, New International Version). God’s Spirit is the power that liberates us from being “slaves of sin” (Romans 6:16-18 Romans 6:16-18 16 Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness.
American King James Version×
).

God pinpointed the problem of all mankind when He said, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments” (Deuteronomy 5:29 Deuteronomy 5:29O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
American King James Version×
). Everyone has spiritual heart trouble, and everyone needs a spiritual heart transplant!

Through His prophet Ezekiel, God said: “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 18:30-31 Ezekiel 18:30-31 30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, said the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby you have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will you die, O house of Israel?
American King James Version×
).

A later prophecy for all mankind states, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”—a heart that is soft, pliable and receptive (Ezekiel 36:26 Ezekiel 36:26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
American King James Version×
).

The indwelling of God’s Spirit is the very thing that defines a true Christian, a son of God. You are “in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:9 Romans 8:9But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
American King James Version×
). And “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14 Romans 8:14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
American King James Version×
).

It is by following the lead of God’s Spirit and relying on its power that one’s life can be spiritually transformed!

And it is the Holy Spirit that empowers the Church to carry out Christ’s work here on earth in preparing the way for His return (Luke 24:46-49 Luke 24:46-49 46 And said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father on you: but tarry you in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on high.
American King James Version×
; Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
American King James Version×
).

The promised “fruit of the Spirit”

If you missed it, we recommend you read the previous article in this series—”Jesus Christ’s Command to Us: Bear Good Fruit and Much Fruit .” It explains and amplifies what Christ said in John 15:1-16 John 15:1-16 1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. 2 Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken to you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you. 15 From now on I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known to you. 16 You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
American King James Version×
.

Just as a fruit grower demands more than pretty leaves, God will not be pleased if we are merely religious and nice. He wants productive servants who are growing spiritually and at the same time serving God and their fellow man with every opportunity.

Keep in mind that we human beings “can do nothing” that is spiritually good on our own (John 15:5 John 15:5I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.
American King James Version×
). That’s why we need God’s Spirit to guide and enable us!

Each of us was created to be “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19 1 Corinthians 6:19What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?
American King James Version×
; 2 Corinthians 6:16 2 Corinthians 6:16And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
American King James Version×
). That is why Paul could say, “Christ lives in me” and “we have the mind of Christ” (Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
American King James Version×
; 1 Corinthians 2:16 1 Corinthians 2:16For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
American King James Version×
). And when Christ lives in you, He changes you. His work is a complete remodeling job, to make your character a replica of His own.

Another analogy is that God’s Spirit carries the code of God’s “DNA,” as it were. When you receive an infusion of His Spirit, it brings with it the righteous spiritual attributes that enable and empower you to develop the fruit of God’s character.

God’s Spirit is necessary to comprehend the spiritual truths of the Bible (1 Corinthians 2:7-16 1 Corinthians 2:7-16 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world to our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. 10 But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
American King James Version×
). Knowledge of God’s Word is essential to spiritual growth. The Bible and the Holy Spirit are synergistic—each is much more effectual because of the other. In a sense, the Bible guides us from without while the Holy Spirit guides from  within.

God literally in-spires our understanding when He puts His Spirit in us. Without God’s Spirit, people can understand only pieces of spiritual truth, like seeing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle but not being able to visualize the overall picture.

In addition, God’s Spirit imparts desire, motivation, willpower, zeal and strength to put that spiritual understanding into practice. God promised, “I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts” (Hebrews 8:10 Hebrews 8:10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
American King James Version×
). When that new nature is internalized, they, like the author of Psalm 119, begin to love God’s laws (Psalms 119:97 Psalms 119:97O how I love your law! it is my meditation all the day.
American King James Version×
).

Indeed, God’s Spirit profoundly changes people! Paul wrote that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering [patience], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×
). In this series of articles, we will thoroughly examine each of these aspects to understand them and learn how to practice them in our daily lives.

Note here that although “fruit” is singular, God has many characteristics that all harmonize to form His holy character. John summarized God’s character with one word: “God is love” (1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version×
). But just as we can distinguish the individual colors of the rainbow when white light passes through a prism, it is profitable for us to examine each attribute of God’s character.

Fruit production requires patient perseverance

After a believer has been baptized, he receives the gift of God’s Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
). New disciples of Jesus Christ begin as spiritual children, but God expects them to rapidly grow up to become mature Christians (Ephesians 4:11-16 Ephesians 4:11-16 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: 14 That we from now on be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love.
American King James Version×
). To do that, we all need to keep spiritually fed with the daily nourishment of prayer, reading the Bible and meditating on it, and striving to live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
American King James Version×
).

After someone has received the gift of God’s Spirit, why does he not produce abundant fruit immediately? Think of a healthy fruit tree in early spring. The tree is receiving plenty of sunshine and water, and the sap is flowing. And there may already be the tiny emergence of fruit. But the fruit is not desirable until it has grown to full size and ripened to sweet maturity.

Likewise, a new disciple of Jesus Christ has immense potential, but he starts out with fruit that is small and “green” or immature. If we are ever to bear ripe luscious fruit, we must assist the Owner of the orchard with our own horticulture—our own fruit cultivation—day after day for the rest of our lives.

James put it very well in James 5:7-8 James 5:7-8 7 Be patient therefore, brothers, to the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8 Be you also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws near.
American King James Version×
: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”

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