In this post I want to look briefly at how the fruit of the Spirit is related to the gifts of the Spirit. In today’s church and in our individual lives we need to both bear the fruit of the Spirit and use the gifts of the Spirit.
The essence of the fruit of the fruit of the Spirit is to become more Christlike as can be seen from what the apostle Paul says,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those ⌊who belong to Christ⌋ have crucified the flesh together with its feelings and its desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. 26 We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26)
The fruit of the Spirit is seen through various attributes, I will not look here at all the attributes but it is important to note that the first of these is love. The fruit of the Spirit is all about how our character is transformed to be more Christlike. When we think of words like patience and kindness we realise at once that these are very practical areas of our life. As we look at the list we see many area where our own lives need to change for the better. Some people looking at this list have said that bearing the fruit of the Spirit is more important than using the gifts of the Spirit. This is a false statement as the Bible always links the two, we manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit as we use the gifts of the Spirit.
When we look at the gifts of the Holy spirit in the New Testament we will see that there use is always linked to love, look for instance at 1 Corinthians 12-14, here we find two passages that deal with the gifts linked by a chapter on love. The same thing happens in Romans 12, read carefully these verses and you will see that this is a true,
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone who is among you not to think more highly of yourself than what one ought to think, but to think ⌊sensibly⌋, as God has apportioned a measure of faith to each one. 4 For just as in one body we have many members, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ, and ⌊individually⌋ members of one another, 6 but having different gifts according to the grace given to us: if it is prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if it is service, by service; if it is one who teaches, by teaching; 8 if it is one who exhorts, by exhortation; one who gives, with sincerity; one who leads, with diligence; one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; be attached to what is good, 10 being devoted to one another in brotherly love, esteeming one another more highly in honor, 11 not lagging in diligence, being enthusiastic in spirit, serving the Lord, 12 rejoicing in hope, enduring in affliction, being devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, pursuing hospitality. (Romans 12:3-13)
Here the connection between the fruit and the gifts is quite clear, we need to regain this biblical emphasis, if we do this we show both the nature of the transforming work of Christ in our lives but we will also be showing forth the ministry of Christ. This Christlike nature is also a serving nature and therefore we need to see the gift being used in a way that will bring glory to God and will build up his church. It is this servant nature of the gifts that is important to emphasise here. The gifts are not given to make us appear good but rather so that others will be blessed.
Let us therefore ask the Lord to bring forth his fruit in us so that we may serve his purposes, at the same time we will need to ask the Lord to give us the gifts that he wants us to use so that others will be blessed through us.