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The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23
I knew I needed an excursus. Yesterday’s offering was almost a throw-away. Not personal. True. But not passionate. Edifying, I hope. But I doubt it was deeply insightful. So just today in the car as we were on the second day of our road trip, it struck me: I need to focus on the Fruit of the Spirit this week in an effort to cultivate that in my heart and life. Two observations might be helpful. First of all, the word “fruit” is singular. This is the result of being connected to Christ, the True Vine. Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). I notice also that the fruit of the Spirit is laid out in this chapter of Galatians in contrast to the works of the flesh. I love the thought of one commentator in this regard. He points out that the singular fruit of the Spirit “isn’t achieved by working, but is birthed by abiding” in Jesus.
He further notes that
- Fruit is fragile.
- Fruit reproduces itself.
- Fruit is attractive.
- Fruit nourishes.
Second, the construction of the verse leads us to think of this singular fruit of love to express itself in the eight that follow. Martin Luther says, “It would have been enough to mention only the single fruit of love, for love embraces all the fruits of the Spirit.”
So this week I’ll be reflecting on love. It is the essential fruit of the Spirit. Love is of God’s essence. Love is greater than faith and hope. God is the source of love. So I want to pay particular attention to being close to Jesus, abiding in him, and bearing fruit by abiding. So hang on. I need this. And we preach (write) best what we need most.