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Flesh vs. Fruit

by Shayla Asselin

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul lists the manifested works of the flesh - adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, contention, jealously, wrath, strife, insurrection, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, and revellings. In the next two verses, he contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the spirit - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control.

It’s important to note that these nine attributes of Christian character, from love to self-control, is one indivisible fruit. Paul acknowledges, in Galatians 5:19, that not every unbeliever will commit every work of the flesh. But, he states that the Spirit will bear every fruit in the believer. As followers of Christ, we can’t pick and choose the attributes that are easier for us.

The significance of the fruit’s unity becomes more apparent when we realize that some of us are, whether by temperament or disposition, able to relate with some of the fruit more than others. Someone might genuinely be a nice person, and they’d exhibit a measure of kindness even if they were not a Christian. Another person might be more prone to demonstrate patience. This could tempt us to think that someone else in the body of Christ could make-up for what we lack. I’ll work on love, and let someone else tackle faithfulness.

But the truth is that the Spirit does not produce genuine love without faithfulness, nor does He produce authentic gentleness without self-control, and so on. You can combine any way you choose, but every attribute of the fruit of the Spirit ought to increase in unity. This is important because the work of the Spirit of God in the child of God creates believers who are Christ-like.

Everyone of us has faced and will face moments of conviction where we realize that we are not as fruitful as we should be. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul tells us we should examine, prove, and know ourselves in order to discover areas of weakness in our lives.

I know it’s hard. I know the fruit of the Spirit is difficult on our flesh. But, the same grace that saved us, sanctifies us. When the Spirit is bearing fruit in our lives, there is no room for the works of the flesh. I pray that we continually die to ourselves and become women of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control.

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