Dear Fellow Believers in Christ, (The key is seeing that it is the fruit of Christ and not our fruit!)
Why is Christ our primary identification for the Christian life? Why is it important to see that the fruit of the Spirit is actually the fruit of Christ and not our fruit? Is not the fruit of the Spirit the actual character and personality of Christ in us? Does not the Word actually focus us in on Christ being our all in all in all things? Doesn't it all revolve around Him, He, and His? How then does Christ live spontaneously in us as us? Let us be led by Holy Spirit as we look into the Word of God to see.
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Gal. 5:22-23 KJV).
First, Everything Godly Within Me Comes In, By, and Through Christ
My primary identification in the Christian life is with Christ. When I was rebirthed by the Holy Spirit and baptized into the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:13), the Father's incorruptible seed – Christ was placed in me (I Pet. 1:23), and Christ became my life. I don't have eternal life aside from Christ in me, the Person of eternal life. That's why the Word says, "that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (I John 5:11,12). First, in the Christian life, everything Godly within me comes in, by, and through Christ living within me.
Second, We Need to Let Christ Live His Life In and Through Us
Identification with Christ is the very same with the fruit of the Spirit. It is not really my love in me. It is Christ's love flowing in and through me to others. It is not really my joy, it is Christ's joy filling me and pushing out all the thoughts of my pain and suffering. It is not really my peace. It is the peace of the Lord that ever surpasses all my understanding and unrest. Also, it is Christ's peace that will guard my heart and mind through the operation of Christ Jesus within me (Phil. 4:7). Second, we need to quit trying to be like Christ and let Christ live His life in and through us. "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).
Third, We Need to Identify the Fruit of the Spirit As Christ's Personality
Notice, that it says, "the fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22). Fruit is singular and not plural. Fruit is definitely singular in the Word of God, so that we will identify "the fruit of the Spirit" with Christ. It is not plural so we would not associate it with having many things given to us aside from Christ. Fruit is singular, so we would come to realize that "the fruit of the Spirit" is many facets of Christ's personality. The Holy Spirit must renew our mind to see the importance of this. For Christ must have a renewed mind to work with to live His life in, by, and through us. So third, we need to identify "the fruit of the Spirit" as Christ's personality. This is how I expect to see Christ's life flowing in and through me to others.
Fourth, We Need to Know That It is His Being These Things, Not Us Doing It
There is a song that most of us have sung or heard called, "The Joy of the Lord is My Strength," derived from the last line of Nehemiah 8:10. It repeats that line 4 times as a chorus and then picks up several verses on what you have to do. . .sing. . .dance. . .clap. . .shout . . . if you want this joy. I like this little chorus myself. However, like many of our little songs, we can sometimes add more about our doing that can overshadow the truth of who Christ is. Fourth, we need to know that it is His being these things in us, not really our doing to achieve it. Christ truly is our life and He can be in us to do everything in and through us, according to the proportion that our mind is genuinely renewed by the Holy Spirit.
Fifth, It Must be Him, He, and His. . . in the Center and Focus of Life
So, I have taken this little chorus and changed the chorus using the different facets of "the fruit of the Spirit" to sing for verses instead of the other "our doing something" verses. Here are the verses: (1) The love of the Lord is His life; (2) The joy of the Lord is His strength; (3) The peace of the Lord is His power. We could go on, but you get the message. It is all about Him, He, and His. It isn't really about me, my, and mine. It is His love that flows through me as His life to others. It is really His joy in me, where I experience His strength, that carries me through the trials and the difficulties. It is not my strength at all. This is what Paul really meant when he said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13). Paul knew that God's grace was sufficient for him, and that His strength is made perfect in our weakness (II Cor. 12:9). "For when I am weak, then I am strong" (II Cor. 12:10). The first "I" refers to Paul as the weak one, but the second "I" refers to Christ who he sees as His strength in Him. Fifth, It must be Him, He, and His. . . in the center and focus of life.
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Fruit of the Spirit
Facet of Christ's Personality
LOVE The Life of Christ JOY The Strength of Christ PEACE The Power of Christ LONGSUFFERING The Endurance of Christ GENTLENESS The Sensitivity of Christ GOODNESS The Righteousness & Holiness of Christ FAITH The Operation of Christ MEEKNESS The Spirit of Christ TEMPERANCE The Selflessness of Christ
Sixth, In the Eternal Plan of God He brings Himself out of Our Opposites
Sixth, Everything in the Eternal Plan of God, He brings Himself out of our opposites. God brings His life out of our death (Rom. 6:23). He brings His light out of our darkness (II Cor. 4:6). God brings His wisdom out of our foolishness (I Cor. 1:17-30). He brings His love out of our fearfulness (I John 4:18). God brings his joy out of our suffering (I Pet. 4:13). His peace is brought out of our unrest (Phil. 4:6,7). God brings His strength out of our weakness (II Cor. 12:9,10). He brings His victory out of our temptations (John 16:33; I John 5:4). Our calling is not really to be somebody for Christ. Our calling is to be the vessel for Christ – the real Somebody. Christ is the life, light, and love in us and through us to each one we contact or connect with in life (II Cor 4:7-10).
Seventh, Christ in Us is Our All in All and Our Spontaneous Life
Seventh, Christ in us is our all in all in all things. Paul's prayer in Eph. 1:17-23 summarizes to the church, "which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Eph. 1:23). "All things were created through Him and for Him" (Col. 1:16), which includes the church. Once we have been Spiritually birthed by God, "all things have become new" (II Cor. 5:17). We are a new creature in Christ Jesus. We no longer identify with all the things of the past, but only with Christ in us, Who is our "all and in all" (Col. 3:11). We now manifest the fruit of His Spirit. Christ in us is more than mere words. Christ is a spontaneous living reality in us!