Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against such things there is no law."
This is a passage that I've been taught since I was a little girl. Today in church the pastor preached out of this passage and I was struck with something that I've never thought about before... See, before today whenever I heard this passage I thought that the fruits of the Spirit are traits we, as Christians, are meant to strive towards - end of story. While it is true that these traits are good to master, that is not the whole point. When it says, "The Fruits of the Spirit," it's talking about THE Spirit, as in the Holy Spirit. Love, Joy, Peace, etc, all of these are traits that make up who He is. What a blessing to be able to have such an amazing example to follow!
Verse 16 of the same chapter says, "...Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh."
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:17-18, NIV)
I am called, you are called, to reflect God's glory. In this passage, it says that the Lord is the Holy Spirit and with Him we find a freedom from our past selves (see also 2 Cor. 5:17). Now, to me, the logic here then is simple. The Spirit is the Lord, We are called to reflect God's glory, to do that we must follow after the traits the Spirit possesses.
I get discouraged sometimes... overwhelmed with the prospect of trying to master all of the traits necessary to reflect God. It is in these times God reminds me: I am not alone! The Holy Spirit is here to help us (see John 16:13-15, Acts 1:8) and no matter what He will be there.
Jesus says that, "... out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Matt. 12:34) So shouldn't that mean that if we are truly striving to be like God, to reflect His glory, we will produce the very fruit we are striving to possess in our lives? As the pastor at church said this morning, "The evidence of the work of God in us in the observable form of "fruit" is necessary."
I hope that this post has served as an encouraging challenge to you, as these thoughts are to me. Pray and seek the Lord in this area. Search after the Fruits of the Spirit to be more like Him, that we may reflect His glory to this lost world - Be forewarned though, if you pray for the Fruits, the Lord will give you a circumstance to practice having them ;o)