Read Galatians 5
Focus on verse 22-23
At the last place we lived in Minnesota, I had planted a Honey Crisp apple tree, that bore delicious apples, which we enjoyed – if we could get them before the deer did. Since moving to Florida, I started growing some citrus trees. One of the first ones I planted was an orange tree which I had bought at one of the many roadside stops that sold citrus trees on one of our trips prior to making the move. I was very excited when it began to blossom, and when the tiny oranges began to form I was certain we would be eating home grown oranges before long. What I did not realize is that this particular breed of dwarf orange also produced dwarf oranges. The largest one on the plant was about the size of a cherry. When I was certain they were ripe I picked one and found that not only were these tiny things were very difficult to peel, they made lemons taste like sugar! They smelled wonderful as all oranges do, but my first taste puckered me up to where I thought my head might turn inside out.
In today’s reading the Apostle Paul uses the image of good fruit versus bad fruit to describe the difference the Holy Spirit makes in our life. He lists a few of what he called “the works of the flesh” adding that those who do such thing will not inherit the kingdom of God, and then adds;
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (v. 22-23)
When we invite the Spirit of God to take control of our life, God’s love begins to rule our actions. When His love rules our actions it begins to manifest in these facets of love that Paul describes. I have often heard these presented as the “fruits” of the spirit, which demotes love to the level of the other eight. While it has been commonly taught in this fashion, it seems to make more sense when one understands that Paul is using the word “fruit” in its singular form, which would then perhaps be better translated “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, which is evident in that we have joy, peace patience…etc.”
Regardless of which way we choose to understand this, the big idea continues to be the contrast between the works of the flesh, which essentially are those things we attempt to do in our own ability and strength, as compared to the fruit of the Spirit which naturally blossoms and grows and matures in our life as we walk in the power and control of the Spirit of God.