I have heard many responses to the simple reading of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5. Sometimes, the reaction from folks is, "Yea, that's how others should treat me!" Or, "It is how I am to be an example." What if the Holy Spirit is digging deeper here?
Galatians was a letter from the Apostle Paul to local churches in a region of modern day Turkey in which Paul planted and invested the gospel of Jesus in people. Paul had to remind them he was sent by God as an apostle, not by men (Galatians 1:1). Since the time Paul was there, missionaries of opposition to Paul and his teaching came telling the church members to get circumcised and follow the Old Testament Law to be right with God.
Galatians is a reminder of the importance of sound doctrine in our theology. Bad doctrine regarding the gospel is "eternally accursed" by those who proclaim it (Galatians 1:8-9) and leads to local churches abusing one another without any asking for forgiveness, repentance, or attempts at reconciling (Galatians 5:15). So, it is important to get the true gospel to view the fruits of the Spirit.
Galatians 5 reminds us of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We were found under the command and control of sin and Jesus freed by promise to those who believe (3:22). Christ died to free us from the demands and punishment and burden of the Law. Under the command of sin, we could not say "no" to the desires of the flesh. We who believe in Jesus have crucified the flesh and all its passions and desires (5:24). We who have been freed by Christ now can say "no" to sin and "yes" to righteousness.
Let us treat Galatians 5 in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ together. Let us learn to walk by the Spirit together as those no longer under the law (5:16, 18). This is not about how to expect others to treat you, or simply how to be a moral person. This is about having been freed by Christ to be led by Christ to be Christ-like to the glory of God. We are no longer under the Law but have been freed by Jesus so we don't indulge ourselves in the pleasures of our old nature, but given a new nature by the Spirit of God. The grace of God transforms the believer to display the fruits of the Spirit. The new life Jesus has delivered us by His death and God's power is a life of love.
I will blog each fruit as a devotion and prayer. I invite you to join me in studying God's Word.