The Whole Package
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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. – Galatians 5:22-24
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:13-17
She has the whole package. Too often that means something demeaning, depersonalizing. Looks and brains. Like the two don’t really belong together. You can have one, but not the other. He has the whole package. When you hear that, most often it refers to an athlete. He can run, hit, jump, throw, catch, kick, defend, and lead the team well. In either case such a comment is not really a complement to those who want to be more than a package.
But when it comes to our need for the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in our lives and influencing our hearts, we need the whole package of God’s armor. For there is a foe who wants to sow seeds of hatred, misery, discord, agitation, and harsh bitterness. And he seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. He wants to take us down. To remove the joy, undercut the peace, destroy the love, incite rebellion, and bring death.
That’s one reason holding onto the fruit of the Spirit is so challenging. Not only do we lose sight of it on our own, but the world challenges this place of pure and joyous faith, and the devil is firing his darts at us left and right. We need God’s armor to keep the gift the Holy Spirit gives.
We must lean on the truth about our sin and God’s grace, to rejoice in the gift of Christ’s righteousness through faith, to walk every step in the peace of Christ’s favor. Keeping our head in all things, remembering that there is nothing more important and consequential than the gift of salvation, and holding the shield of faith, we are ready to defend ourselves. In addition, we also take up the offensive weapon: the word of God. By that word, we slay the dragon and defeat his temptation and deceit.
To tie the fruit of the Spirit with the armor of God may not seem appropriate. Somehow the idea of a battle is antithetical to the notion of the Holy Spirit’s presence and influence. Except for the fact that we are in a war. We have an enemy. And although we can make peace with a brother or sister in Christ whom we have offended, or who has offended us, we can never make peace with the devil. We must always be on guard. Thank God for his armor. Seek to display the fruit of the Spirit in all we do and say. We’ll certainly need God’s help to do that. The Holy Spirit stands ready. The armor will not fail us.