Understanding the Giver of the fruits of the Spirit
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22 and 23).
One thing to note from the onset is that the word “Spirit” has a capital letter indicating the third member of the Trinity. We are referring to the Holy Spirit of God as the giver of these fruits. Some have labeled them “divine attributes and qualities that will start to reach into the very core of our personality.” It is a pretty impressive circle for a believer to find himself in when we think that God the Father is allowing His children to share in a part of His divine nature by sending the Holy Spirit to transmit and encourage these nine qualities in our lives. I believe that is why God said in His Word that these nine traits are “fruits of the Spirit.” That gives us a head start on what we can expect.
In the very early years of my Christian walk, I was having to reach for the meaning of the Holy Spirit. I just did not get the concept easily, and yet pastors and teachers spoke of this third member of the Trinity with awe and respect. They prayed for the Spirit to be evident in their lives and walk.
One night, a simple evangelist gave a vivid illustration. He asked two members of the congregation to come forward to be a part of his sermon. Two people immediately jumped up from their seats in the big auditorium and stood by the podium waiting for further instruction. He said, “Mr. Brown, you walk in front of me in this line we are forming.” And then he said, “Mr. Jones, will you please bring up the rear and walk behind me here on the stage?” Both men lined up, one in front of the speaker, and one behind the speaker. He began walking across the stage. He stopped and pretended to speak to the host pastor, and said, “Now, Mr. Smith, I am here to talk to you about God. May I have a few moments of your time?” The pastor nodded his affirmation. The evangelist spoke intently for a few minutes and while he did, both Mr. Brown and Mr. Jones bowed their heads and appeared to be praying quietly.
I have never known if they had been pre-instructed, but it seemed to the audience that it was all happenstance. Mr. Brown had tears in his eyes and he often would take those big working hands of his and wipe them from his eyes. As the evangelist finished his conversation with the local pastor, Mr. Brown and Mr. Jones embraced the pastor and the evangelist and there were smiles and amens everywhere.
The evangelist said, “Now, folks, these two men from your local church congregation just helped me demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit. He goes before us and works in the hearts of the people we will meet and with whom we will speak. Mr. Jones demonstrated that he will come behind us and continue to work, to encourage, to help, to teach and to bless after we have left the premises and returned to our own lives. These are only two of the Holy Spirit’s job assignments, but are they not wonderful?”
There have been times in my life that I know for a certainty that the Holy Spirit was with me and working in not only my life, but in the hearts and minds of those I would encounter. Have you ever felt led to contact someone, more or less out of the blue, to ask for help and they were available and delivered? I had that experience last week. I called an old friend and asked for help and not only did she point me in the direction I needed to go, but she encouraged me along the way. We may not believe the exact way — she is Jewish and I am Protestant — but she was there for me big time.
Thank you, Lord, for seeing fit to send the Holy Spirit to help us learn the value of the fruits of the Spirit in our everyday lives. Next week, we will look at “love,” the first fruit. How appropriate since it will be near Valentine’s Day when it is the air all around us.
Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.