“So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit”
In “Our Daily Bread”, M. R. De Hann, M.D., wrote a story about a Christian gardener who was employed by a wealthy, outwardly religious but “unregenerate gentleman”. The story went like this: the gardener tried in vain to show his employer that religion without Christ, no matter how sincere, was not enough. The gardener hit upon a novel idea. In the garden was a barren tree which never bore fruit. One day the proprietor saw to his surprise, hanging on the tree, were some beautiful fruit, and he eagerly tried to pick the fruit from the tree. When he did he found that the fruit was artificial fruit merely tied on to the tree. The gardener had tied the artificial fruit to the limbs in an effort to demonstrate to his master the difference between religion and Christ.
Like the proprietor, in society today many people have “religion”, and their values are focused on worldly ideologies instead of godly principles. Henry Ward Beecher, an American Congregationalist clergyman in the 1800's stated: “Expedients are for the hour, but principles are for the ages. Just because the rains descend and the winds blow, we cannot afford to build on shifting sands”. God's people ought to be like the gardener, and exhibit Christ-like characteristics and principles through their life.
Jesus said: “My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father”. Listed in Galatians, are nine character traits, or fruits, that the Holy Spirit produces when he controls a life. They are: (1) love (listening to others, tender); (2) joy (gladness); (3) peace (harmony); (4) patience (an even temper); (5) kindness (gentleness); (6) goodness (benevolent, being like God); (7) faithfulness (loyalty to God, dependable); (8) gentleness (polite or refined); and (9) self-control (self-restraint).
Dwight L. Moody, an American evangelist stated: “Joy is love exalted, peace is love in repose; long-suffering is love enduring; gentleness is love in society; goodness is love in action; faith is love on the battlefield; meekness is love in school; and temperance is love in training”. When a person expresses love, it purifies, heals, and enriches not only others, but also the person.
Millie Stamm suggested a way to illustrate the fruits of the Spirit. She said: “A flower has a number of petals, and each petal is an essential part of the complete flower. Joy is one of the petals in the fruit of the Spirit, and without it we are not complete Christians”.
Each day invite the Holy Spirit to move in you, and through you. “If we are living now by the Holy Spirit's power, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. Then we won't need to look for honors and popularity, which lead to jealousy and hard feelings” (TLB). As the fruits of the Spirit radiates from within you, you will touch other's lives; bless everyone around you; and you will leave the fragrance of Jesus Christ everywhere you tread.
Lord God, thank You for the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. Help us to produce godly fruit in our life. Amen.
~ Ann Brock Ludington