Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
It is Spring here in the midwest region of the United States. Flowers are blooming, trees are filling out. The bridal wreath bushes in our front yard are in full bloom. Not too long ago, everything was brown, gray, and dingy.
I just love the colors and the fragrances. The new shoots and the smell of freshly mown grass. Neighbors are planting gardens and flower beds. Potting plants and weeding out the yard. Life seems to be in full swing all around me.
So it is with the life around us in the people we know as church.
Seeing those who come to our church seeking; seeking a place of fellowship, a place to worship, a place where they can utilize the gifts and talents God has given them; a place to belong. There are those whom God has drawn to us because they are what we need to grow to the next step.
They are our next Sunday school teachers, nursing home directors, song leaders, and ministry leaders. They are choir members, playing in the orchestra, children’s workers or workers in the nursery. When we begin to see life happening all around us, we can realize – life is good.
Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, admonishing them for being so soon removed from the things he had taught them.
There were those who perverted the gospel.
Galatians 1:6-7 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”
There were ‘bewitchers’.
Galatians 3:1 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”
There were those we call ‘entanglers’.
Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Galatians 5:7 “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”
We know them because of the fruit they bear.
Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
This great dichotomy of good and evil will always exist in all churches. Thanks be to God there is a bridge for all those who’ve been perverted, bewitched, entangled, or hindered. God has for us a way to be restored.
But we, who are saved children of God, cannot do this work in the flesh. We must first exhibit the fruit of the Spirit to be eligible to step into the role of ‘restorer’. We have all been called to this ministry of reconciliation. But in so doing, we cannot live in the flesh.
Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
“Ye which are spiritual…”
How do I know that I am spiritual? What sort of fruit are you bearing in your life? Are you humble? Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? Do you exhibit the fruits described in our beginning passage today?
Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith, meekness, and temperance are fruit which God tells us will be evident in our lives when the Holy Spirit has control. Many will say that they possess one or more of the fruit named here, but do we have all in our life?
The seeds God planted in my life over twenty-eight years ago have bore fruit after this kind. He has grown love in me. Love for those whom I can say I did not have a love for before.
Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
We love our four and no more and God wants us to take our loving to a whole new level.
There are those of us that have anger issues. Others deal with an unsettled spirit. For some, their tongue cannot seem to speak much good about anyone. Most have control issues – they cannot even control their own flesh to govern their eating.
God never saved us to be set in a display window for others to admire. He wants us to be settled in our relationship with Him to bring others to the same.
To be that one to help, we must first be spiritual; we saw that. Then, we can help that one to bear the burdens they are under.
Galatians 6:2 “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
Once they become accustomed to bearing their burden, we can then show them that the work God has for them can be done in the Spirit. Helping someone be released from the bondage of sin is a beautiful thing. But, seeing that one begin to find success in the work of God brings joy.
Galatians 6:4 “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
When you see that the one we are mentoring begins to find that joy themselves, they are well on their way to being grounded and growing. But when they start to teach someone else, is when we can feel as if we have genuinely completed the work needed in their life.
Galatians 6:6 “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”
We cannot be selfishly satisfied in the unique work in our life just to be spiritual. God has saved us for so much more! As long as there is sin in the world, there will be a need to restore brothers and sisters to a useful and productive life pleasing to God.
The real beauty is not that which we see outwardly, but that which is the inward beauty of the heart.
We can help any and all who come, to be that beautiful, radiant child of God!