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The fruit of the Spirit as our goal

Mikuláš Török, 05.12.2012

Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control.

Philippians 2:2-3 Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Psalm 119:159-162 See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love. 160All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. 161Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word. 162I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.

The fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-24) is the ultimate meaning and purpose of God’s actions towards us. Not just sort of a bonus to our salvation. Items listed in the fifth chapter of Galatians are generally recognized as very positive, also among non-believers. This brings the risk that some concepts are interpreted according to different criteria than what God intends.


All the concepts in Gal 5:22-24 have two levels – interpersonal and in relation to God. When this is not taken into account, there is a risk of a meaning change, into the mere humanistic plane (for example kindness), which completely changes the character of the listed concepts. To understand it correctly and bring it to life, is possible only when realizing why the Spirit gives this fruit to His children.


The Holy Spirit deals with us primarily with respect to our relationship with God. From the first moment, from the first meeting. The most important thing the Holy Spirit deals with after our repentance is to settle our relationship with God. In order to be reconciled with Him. Only then it makes sense to think about the expression towards people.


Thus the first concern of the Holy Spirit is to reform our relationship with God, consequently to deepen and consolidate our relationship with Him, to know Him more and more. In order that our understanding to God, our attitude toward Him, His commandments and His Word continually improve. So that God’s Word becomes nicer and more pleasant for us.


For this reason, everything we read in the fifth chapter of Galatians is primarily meant in relation to God. All the kinds of the fruit of the Spirit are bound together, and as a result they cause character transformation. If this is omitted and the fruit of the Spirit is limited just to interpersonal relationships, the result is very distorted, erroneous.


For example, peace is not just a 'calm temperament' (in a worse case lethargic), but that there are no obstacles in our relationship with God, that we are free from sin, tension, unfaithfulness, that we are fully accepted by God. The first thing is to have peace with God, so that there is no conflict between us and God. The Holy Spirit is always at work on this. At the beginning, He tells us that there is a conflict between us and God, which leads to our perdition, but that it can be removed by our repentance. But that every sin, every disobedience disrupts the peace again. Since the peace with God is so valuable to us, we do not allow the peaceful relationship between us and the God’s kingdom to be disrupted. We repent without delay, in order to find the peace again. The real peace is when there is no jealousy, envy – in the first place with God, and then with people.


Love is not a mere affection between a man and a woman. Apostle Paul defines love in the first chapter of Corinthians. For example, he says that love does not envy, and envy is listed among the deeds of the flesh in the fifth chapter of Galatians. Here again, we should see that primarily love to God is meant, only after that love towards people. Thus, that love trusts in God, always believes Him, always has hope in Him etc.


Or joy. People who live well with Him are His greatest joy. What makes us happy? That our children get married well, or that they live well with God? How can we be happy about a grandchild when we know that because of its unconverted or even apostate parents its life is lost at the moment? God is also happy when His children are in harmony, unity (Phil 2:2). It is not possible to be happy about God’s children who live in strife. King David rejoices at God’s Word as one who finds a great treasure (Ps 119:162). Do you rejoice at God’s Word in the same way? What was the list of things making you happy before your conversion? And how much has it changed now? Or still the same one? What makes you happy shows what you care about. What is the most important for us, that makes us happiest. What makes you happiest? The fact that God speaks to you? Or the fact that you got promoted at work?


How you love God and how He loves you should be the source of your joy, it is extremely important. How God transforms you should be the source of your happiness.


Self-control. According to how your relationship with God changes, also your relationships with people and towards them change. Another factor in this is how you perceive yourself, how you understand yourself. That you are not fighting with yourself, or even with God or other people. These things are related.


Faith. According to common distorted perception, faith comes through the Holy Spirit, therefore it is needed to wait until the faith falls upon us, until we can pluck it like fruit from a tree. But the truth is different. The Holy Spirit is day and night working on our trust in God to deepen and grow. Especially, by speaking with us about it (thus, the faith is by hearing, and hearing by the word of God). Therefore, faith can only come through the Word of God, made live by the Holy Spirit. Faith means that we increasingly rely on God, His Word, His guidance, power and help.


The Holy Spirit ceaselessly works on that we get the fruit, which apostle Paul writes about in the letter to Galatians. From the first second we met Him, He pursues this goal. Filling by the Holy Spirit and His work with us, that is what leads to this goal. We should seek to achieve this objective, as well – to become God’s children, and such God’s children as described above, respectively. It is necessary to understand this goal as the most valuable purpose in our life, and similarly like the Holy Spirit to do everything that will be needed for it.

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