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The fruit of the Spirit as works of the flesh [repost]

For years I prayed for the fruit of the Spirit every day.  (Galatians 5:22f)  Yet, looking back, I prayed for the fruit in an altogether fleshly way.

How so?  Well basically my prayers were petitions for the moral character of ‘love, joy, peace...' as abstract qualities. I would judge my own spiritual walk that week by how loving, joyful, peaceful... I had been. In short I had turned the fruit of the Spirit into a check-list of works which I either did or didn't practice that week.

One morning, as I was praying for the fruit, I got an image of the Spirit coming to my door with a huge basket laden with choice fruits.  And my response was to say ‘Thanks for bringing the fruit.  Just leave them inside the door and I'll see you later!'

I wanted the fruit not the Spirit.  I wanted the fruit apart from the Spirit.  Yet the fruit is fruit of the Spirit. It grows organically as the Spirit unites me to Christ, the true Vine.  Henceforward I prayed for the Spirit Himself - He communicates Christ to me as a sheer gift.  As I receive Him by faith, so the fruit grows.

Yet how quickly we turn gospel into law.
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0 thoughts on “The fruit of the Spirit as works of the flesh [repost]

  1. David

    That is an incredible insight, hidden in plain sight! I've also tended to pervert it the same way, by not only forgetting that it is FRUIT, but that it is actually the fruit OF the Spirit - effectively transforming the the overflowing goodness of the Spirit into something I can generate independently if I pray hard enough. Oddly, it doesn't make me more loving or kind, just a bit more resentful than I was before. It made me realise that no good can come from trying to be good.

    Listened to Ron Frost at the Delighted by God conference this morning ( http://www.theologynetwork.org/unquenchable-flame/the-puritans/getting-stuck-in/delighted-by-god-2011--sibbes-description-of-christ.htm ). Wow! It all seems to be about getting caught up and enraptured in the Father's love for the Son through the Holy Spirit!! :D

  2. woldeyesus

    "Fruit of the Spirit", apart from the "blood and water" pouring out from the pierced side of Jesus, will prove to be spurious! (John 19: 34-37)

  3. Si Hollett

    I have a (very small) chili plant in my garden - it's pretty much dead. The only thing that looks alive are the chilis - which were too big and too many for the plant to support, so sapped the life out of the plant, which is now dry and dusty. I was a poor pastor of that plant, concerned not about the plant, but it's fruit - something I've done to myself lots - care so much about producing fruit, as if the thing I wanted from Christ was to be a better person, that I turn dry and dusty.

  4. James Spence

    I've done similar by trusting in a prayer I have prayed rather than trusting in the God whom I prayed to. I learned that awful lesson a very hard and painful way, but I'll not ever forget now.

  5. David Baker

    Absolutely!

    I was just reading yesterday:

    "Living in the Spirit means that I trust the Holy Spirit to do in me what I cannot do myself. This life is completely different from the life I would naturally live of myself. Each time I am faced with a new demand from the Lord, I look to Him to do in me what He requires of me. It is not a case of trying but of trusting; not of struggling but of resting in Him. If I have a hasty temper, impure thoughts, a quick tongue or a critical spirit, I shall not set out with a determined effort to change myself, but instead, reckoning myself dead in Christ to these things, I shall look to the Spirit of God to produce in me the needed purity of humility or meekness, confident that He will do so........ It is not passivity; it is a most active life, trusting the Lord like that; drawing life from Him, taking Him to be our very life, letting Him live His life in us as we go forth in His Name."

    (The Normal Christian Life - Watchman Nee - pages 119, 124)

  6. Emma Bail

    What a nice post!! Just an incredible..I like the way you are explaining all the feelings of you.specially like the title "fruit of the Spirit" and the last sentence "As I receive Him by faith, so the fruit grows".Just listing an (http://www.crosspointechurch.tv/media.html) where i listen the same thoughts about the prayers and how our prayers are reflects our desires.Really very touching and inspirational post.Thank you so much for sharing with us....

    Love,
    Emma

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