Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Fruits are a common item mentioned throughout the Bible. The following fruits get mentioned in Scriptures: Grapes, figs, olives, pomegranates, dates, and apples. All of these are still common to us today. People of the Old and New Testament realized that fruits were gifts from God, and so people and places were named after these fruits. For example, the name Tamar (Genesis 38:6) means date, and the town of Anab (Joshua 11:21) means grape. Fruits, in ancient times, were also used as decorations on altars and priestly clothing.
God formed fruit-bearing and seed-bearing plants during creation so they could reproduce themselves without being recreated. The term fruit-bearing grew to be used with other meanings also. We find an example in Genesis 1:28 “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground,” which meant to reproduce themselves by having children. Later in the Bible, the term is used to mean sharing our faith as seen in Luke 8:15 “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
The Bible also uses fruits to illustrate how we should live. The grapevine to explain how any plant which does not bear fruit will be pruned by the gardener as shown in John 15:1-5. In this same passage, Jesus refers to himself as the vine, and we are the branches, and to produce fruit, we must remain attached to the vine. Wild vines, in Jeremiah 2:21, represent those who turn away from God and follow the way of the world.
When the Bible repeats words or ideas, it should cause us to pay attention. I believe this is why the works of the Spirit get referred to as “fruits.” Last week, we looked at the first fruit, love. This week I want to examine the fruits of Joy and Peace. I think these two fruits partner so well together because when we have one of them, the other will follow closely.
Joy does not just mean happiness. The world equates joy and happiness as the same thing. But Christian Joy is much broader than just feeling happy. Joy remains present no matter how dark our circumstances appear because we know God is still in control even when everything is out of control. Nehemiah 8:10 reminds us that the Joy of the Lord is our strength. Anchoring our joy in Jesus helps prevent the world from robbing us of it. Like the campfire song by George William Cooke explains, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart to stay.” The fruit of Joy resides deep within our heart so that the Spirit can shelter it from all the circumstances of life.
Likewise, Peace from a worldly perspective differs from this fruit of the Spirit. I think the world no longer knows peace at all, lost in the chaos of war and terror. Satan thrives on unrest within a soul. But, God gives us a feeling of peace that transcends human understanding. In John 14:27 Christ assures us with these words; “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Possessing the fruits of Joy and Peace will radiate from us to those stuck in the darkness of their circumstances. God gives us these fruits to share with others. Those broken in spirit cry out for lasting joy and peace, and only those with these fruits can lead them to the light of Christ. God gave us the gift of the fruits of the Spirit to share and not to hoard for ourselves. Sharing the source of our joy and peace is one of the ways we are called to be”fruitful and multiply.”
Yvonne – #blogger, #speaker, and #author
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
If you are interested in reading another perspective on The Fruits of the Spirits, please read my friend Melissa’s post on the subject at Melissa’s Blog