As we continue on with our theme of having a real, personal, intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, I

want us in the coming three weeks to focus on the nine fruit of the Spirit, then His nine spiritual gifts.  

There has been division in the church about the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit. Christians who are gifts-focused say, “We’ve got the gifts, what more do we need? We don’t need the fruit of the Spirit” On the other side those who aim at character say, “There is no need for those spiritual gifts. Character is most important, that’s all you need!” Both sides are wrong.

Gifts without character is dangerous. It’s like giving a young guy a powerful new racing car when he can hardly drive. Let him lose and he may kill himself and or others.

Similarly, fruit without the gifts is ineffective. Christians are God’s solution to the problems in this world. And it takes the gifts of the Holy Spirit to make us part of the solution. It is one thing to be sympathetic with the sick person, but it takes the gifts of faith or healings or the working of miracles to meet the need of that sick person.

We need both the gifts and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

What’s the difference between the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit? Picture two trees – an apple tree and a Christmas tree. The apple tree bears fruit. The Christmas tree bears gifts.

The gifts represent power. The Holy Spirit’s power. Gifts are given and received in a single transaction, and they cannot be earned or worked for. They are gifts. Gifts can be magnified (grow stronger) as you use them. But, if you don’t use them, you lose them. Gifts are temporary.

The fruit represents character. Fruit come through a process of gradual growth. Fruits need to be cultivated. It is impossible to market fruit that’s not been cultivated. The fruit, character, is who you truly are now and will be in heaven for all of eternity. Fruit are forever.

So, gifts are temporary (see 1Cor. 13:8-10), and fruit / character are forever. We only need the spiritual gifts in this life. There is no need for them in heaven. But your character, who you are in Christ now, is who you will be forever.       

How do we develop the nine fruit of the Spirit in our lives?  Let’s look at 2 Timothy 2:6, “The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.” (NIV) In short, Paul is saying that cultivating fruit is hard work. Likewise it takes effort and time to develop God’s spiritual fruit in our lives.

There are four things we need to do to cultivate spiritual fruit in our lives:

  1. ‘Know’ Gods Word – this is the basis of all God’s provisions for us. If we are not familiar with His Word we will inevitably go without His provisions. See 2Timothy 2:15
  2. Prayer – not the shopping list for God but talking with Him, listening to Him, talking like friends. Imitate Jesus’ prayer life – see Mark 1:35.
  3. Fellowship – we’re all members of one body and so we need one another. No such thing as a lone Christian. See 1Cor. 12:12-26; Heb. 10:25.
  4. Discipline – self discipline e.g. when you get up, what you eat, what you wear, how clean you keep yourself, etc. Also Church discipline – become a member, submit to the church leaders and their discipline. (see Acts 2:42-47)

Finally, here are the nine fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [a]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (NKJV)

Which of these do people say you manifest / show the most? Which of these take prominent in your life every day?

We will look at each of these in the coming weeks.