|Tribune Content Agency
Aug 23, 2019
|From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: What does the phrase “fruit of the Spirit” mean? — F.S.
A: Put in the simplest terms, the Bible tells us we need the Spirit to bring fruit into our lives because we cannot produce godliness apart from the Spirit. Nor can we obtain this great and promised gift outside of having Jesus Christ at the center of our lives. In our own selves we are filled with all kinds of self-centered and self-seeking desires which are opposed to God’s will for our lives. All Christians should be marked by all the fruit of the Spirit.
To be filled with the attributes of Christ is God’s desire, and this is made possible only by the transforming power of the Spirit’s work in us when we are saved and set apart for His purpose. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). It means we are dead to sin in the sense that it no longer has control over us.
This is a marvelous promise. He becomes our constant companion. This happens as we bring our minds under His control. He changes our desires and causes us to long for, and pray for, the fruits that speak of Him: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When we want something bad enough, we will discipline ourselves. If we want to lose weight, we exercise discipline with food. When we want to win someone’s heart, we discipline ourselves to be thoughtful and kind.
Jesus spoke of knowing His followers by their fruits (Matthew 7:16). This is a most wonderful way to testify of the Lord’s work in our lives.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
(c)2019 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.