Walking in the Spirit [Part 1]
By Alan Wright — November 29, 2018
Are you ready for some good news?
You can’t manufacture spiritual fruit; but you can bear the fruit of the Spirit every day!
Today’s Texts: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16, ESV)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23, ESV)
An orange seed goes into the ground, sprouts and becomes a young orange tree growing in an Indian River grove. The sunshine, warm Floridian air and ample rain cause the tree to become stout and healthy. In season, oranges emerge from its branches. Does the tree branch manufacture the oranges dangling at its extremities? Well, no, not really. The miracle of that fruit appearing depends on much more than the branch. The orange is born from a life deeper within the tree. The orange is the byproduct of a branch abiding on a healthy tree.
When Paul exhorts the Galatians toward righteous living, he doesn’t implore them to try harder to live holy lives. Instead, he invites them to “walk by the Spirit.” If you want to bear the fruit of love, joy and peace, you won’t find it through personal attempts at piety. You’ll discover spiritual fruit emerging in your life only as you abide in the Spirit.
Jesus describes it plainly to the disciples: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4–5, ESV)
Paul paints the picture consistently in the Galatian epistle. People who try hard to keep the law in order to make themselves acceptable wind up either becoming so condemned by that law that they want to run away in rebellion, or they keep working harder and become filled with pride.
Jesus came because, though you couldn’t keep the law, he could. You could never obey all the rules, but He did. The abundant life in Christ Jesus comes not by your efforts, but by your surrender to the glad news of what God has done for you in Jesus. The way that you will overcome sin in your life is not by trying to overcome sin! The way that you will discover good spiritual fruit in your life is not by trying to manufacture fruit. You can walk in the Spirit and, as you do, you’ll bear much fruit. And that’s the Gospel!