DAILY DEVOTION, Sept. 17, 2021
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
After spelling out the works of the flesh, Paul focuses on the fruit (note the singular tense) of the Spirit. He is talking about how we act when we are living under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Those who are walking in the Spirit will reflect love, joy, and peace. They will be patient, kind, and good. They will be faithful, gentle, and under control. Whenever we act in ways contrary to that list, we need to repent and receive forgiveness quickly. We want our lives to reflect the positive influences of the Holy Spirit.
It would be great if the fruit of the Spirit just happened automatically after we came to faith. However, it seems that God wants us to actively cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit. Through Bible study, prayer, and participation in the life of the church, these virtues grow. As we neglect these things, we tend to slip back into the works of the flesh. The Spirit will work in us as we make regular use of the means of grace: Holy Scripture, prayer, and the church. God created us as free and autonomous individuals. Our choices help determine who controls us, the Spirit or the flesh.
Gracious Father, help me to faithfully use the means of grace that I may reflect the fruit of the Spirit in my daily life. If I drift away from the fruit of the Spirit, I ask You to use whatever means necessary to call me back. My heart’s desire is to serve You faithfully. I pray in the name of my blessed Redeemer, Jesus, Amen