Psalm 1:3 ’He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season…’
God desires that all His children -including YOU- bear much fruit to Him. A Christian is likened to a tree in many passages of the Bible, of which we are going to examine a few.
Psalm 92:12 ‘The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.’
James 3:12 ‘Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?’
Matthew 12:33,35 ‘Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things…’
Let Good Things Flow
You are likened to a tree and God expects you to bear much fruit (good fruit) to Him, through His Spirit dwelling in your heart. All the fruits that God wants you to bear are important. He wants to see good things flow out of your life.
The bible lists one fruit (evidence, expression, nature) of the Holy Spirit which is manifested in nine (9) different ways, that God expects from you, and so today, you are going to understand how to develop this fruit in your life, as we discuss the various aspects one after the other.
Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. – Galatians 5:22
The primary fruit of the Spirit God seeks in our lives is love! The Greek word for this is ‘Agape’ and it means affectionate love, benevolent love, a selfless love that flows from the heart, a love that embraces the loveless and the unlovable. That’s the kind of love with which Jesus loves us and He has given us a commandment to also love others the way He loves us. ‘But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ – Romans 5:8.
The opposite of love is hatred, apathy or indifference, which we can never find in Jesus. He is so concerned and interested in your life! He cares about your family, friends and neighbors, He cares about your community and your nation. The poor, less-privileged, homeless, afflicted and oppressed are all matters of great concern to Him! God loves, not because of what He can get in return, but because of what His love can do for the object of His love.
Walking in the Spirit
I say then; ‘Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.’ – Galatians 5:16
Walking in the Spirit is a choice you need to make, and this is powered and made possible by God’s grace. It is natural and easy to get angry at a slight provocation, but the Christian is not expected to demonstrate such attitudes. Getting angry easily (or fulfilling other lusts of the flesh as written in Galatians 5:19-20) is a sign that one is ruled and dominated by the flesh. Those who walk in the flesh are natural men, those who walk in the Spirit are spiritual men. Are you walking in the flesh or in the Spirit? Is your life a shining example unto others? Are you easily provoked to anger? Whatever your answer is, you can develop and improve in walking in the Spirit and demonstrating love toward people.
Jesus loved His enemies, even at the point of possible death. Luke 22:49-51 ‘When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the High Priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this”. And He touched his ear and healed him.
That is divine! I love Jesus and I desire to walk in His steps. Do you? He taught His children to love even their enemies, and He demonstrated it in so many ways and at so many times. (See Matthew 5:44-48). God is Love, and you are Love’s child.
Engaging the wisdom of God to grow and increase in love
For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay our lives down for the brethren. 1 John 3:11,16.
God never asks you to do a thing He hasn’t made His grace available for. He tells you to love because you can. By His grace, you can! However, there are certain steps to take to make this work for you.
- Receive Jesus into your heart and life. You cannot give unto others what you do not have (you cannot give good fruit if you do not bear much fruit to begin with). Jesus is the Love of God personified, and you have to experience His love before you can give it out. This is the first step to take, because when you receive Him, His love will be poured out in your heart. (Romans 5:5)
- Ask God in prayer to help you love others selflessly. Prayer is a vital key. Prayer is a dialogue between God and man, but it must be initiated by man. Pray for His love to take over your heart so that you can give it to others. The Holy Spirit is able to do this for you and in you.
- Forgive your offenders. Love does not have room for malice, bitterness, resentment and the likes. You must be totally free from all these things before you can love as God loves. Whatever wrong has been done against you by anyone must be completely forgiven. Talk to God about this, asking Him for grace to release the hurts, pain, bitterness and whatever is contrary to His love.
- Allow Jesus to always ‘love others through you.’ God designed you to be a vessel, an instrument in His hands. Look for someone around you who needs the love of God. It may be a widow, an orphan, a drug addict, an ex-convict or any hopeless person. Ask Jesus to help you love them selflessly, and you’ll be amazed at the wonder-working power of love!
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Angela Lowe, MS. Ed., LPC
Angela Lowe is a licensed Professional Counselor, trained Biblical Counselor and certified Holistic Health Coach. Her kingdom mandate is to restore God’s counsel to transform lives, marriages, and churches worldwide.