The Fruit of The Spirit Challenge is a SEVEN day challenge or buffet. We will read our foundation scripture Galatians 5:22-23 daily, and study a specific Fruit for each day with relevant scriptures.
The plan for each day is here. The #FOSChallenge is not just about reading, I would love for us to share our understanding of what we have read with each other, so as you read, please hash-tag #FOSChallenge if you have twitter. In addition, either paste your notes for each day/Fruit of The Spirit, or a summary in the form below or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org with your and I will put it up on this blog page!
Galatians 5 will get a lot of us IN CHECK. We’re quick to say that we’re born again and have the Holy Spirit. But we don’t produce the fruit that reflects the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We claim to be transformed…let the fruits speak for themselves in our lives. Let’s learn about these amazing fruits.‘My people perish for lack of knowledge’ (Hosea 4:6). A lot of us are perishing in the spirit and need to head to the A & E which is the Bible – God’s word! It’s time to change– let us forsake the fruits of the flesh so we can have a buffet on the Fruit of the Spirit.
Points that I haven’t touched on in my summary are covered in everyone else’s contributions, OR I have purposely left out to encourage you guys to touch on!
Bible Challenge MOTTO: The Bible is JUICY. The Bible is LIFE. The Bible is for YOU!
I used the Message bible version because I found it hilarious to read and self-explanatory:) You will see the scripture passages in bold with a few comments from me below!
You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:4-6 NIV)
Fallen away from grace! This is deep. Did anyone of us think it was possible to fall away from God’s grace…? I can tell you that it is, when you establish your own grace. When you try and find ‘grace’ in the law, by deeds – but void of love or God’s Spirit. (See Corinthians 13) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:18 NIV)
I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace…For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love. (Galatians 5:4-6 MSG)
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18 NIV)
There is a serious conflict within us! Choose which side you are on. Do not straddle on the fence…that fence belongs to the flesh and not The Spirit. Revelation 3:16 and Matthew 6:24
Characteristics of The Flesh
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV)
It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom. (Galatians 5:19-21 MSG)
Characteristics of The Spirit
Which one are you feeding? Are you having a buffet in the flesh and being starved in The Spirit?But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22, 23 NIV)
My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? (Galatians 5:16-18 MSG)
What fruit are you producing? – Whilst there is conflict you have a choice which fruit to produce. An orange tree cannot bear fruit to pears. If you’re seeing pears when you expect to see oranges then know that the ‘seed’ is wrong and needs to be uprooted and ‘crucified’.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24 NIV)
Paul acknowledges that his tone of preaching changed. He moves away from that old ‘Pharisee-like preaching’ to a word of grace. Away from the focus on religion and deeds to one that focuses on the heart. Freedom from ‘doing’ to ‘being’. Paul is absolutely hilarious in the last line (verse 12).
As for the rumor that I continue to preach the ways of circumcision (as I did in those pre-Damascus Road days), that is absurd. Why would I still be persecuted, then? If I were preaching that old message, no one would be offended if I mentioned the Cross now and then—it would be so watered-down it wouldn’t matter one way or the other. Why don’t these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves! (Galatians 5:11, 12 MSG)
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original. (Galatians 5:25, 26 MSG)
Are you in a relationship with God or the ‘things’ of God? Cos they are two different things.
God wants your heart, not your deeds. He loves you just the way you are but wants you to be better. Even before we thought or cared about Him, He sent His Son to die for us. Live under His grace; the new law of salvation and not of condemnation. Don’t think you have to do things to make Him love you more. His love for us is so great that nothing we can do could change it. We do amazing things because we love God, we don’t do those things to gain His love. Being under the new law doesn’t mean that we should sin that God’s grace may continue to cover us…no way. He wants to take the old and make it new, transform our old ways into ones that truly depict our love for Him.
Firstly we as Christians need to take the Holy Spirit more seriously. He is an active part of the Trinity and has all of the fullness of God.
We mustn’t make Him grieve – And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30 ESV)
It’s the Spirit that manifests spiritual gifts – [1Corinthians 12:4-11] and it’s only the Spirit of God who knows the thoughts of God [1Corinthians 2:6-14]
Galatians 5:16-25 is daring us to be counter culture and Paul is aware that we can only develop certain characteristics if we dwell in the Spirit and not let our flesh run wild.
In vs 1 Paul acknowledges that we are set free by the finished work of Jesus Christ and as a result we shouldn’t submit ourselves to the ‘yoke of slavery’. The slavery Paul is referring to is sin. Sin engulfs us and we can become indebted to sins such as lust and jealousy- that’s when we say things like ‘I just can’t control myself’.
Paul clearly states that there is no use in abiding to the Law, the Ten Commandments because for 1500 years before Jesus, millions failed to comply to the Commandments simply because they didn’t have the Holy Spirit. If we are called to be holy aka set apart it makes sense that the only One that can help us do this is the Spirit of the Father – who is always patient, kind and faithful.
We must remember that it’s THROUGH the spirit by FAITH that we wait eagerly for righteousness [vs 5].
Very important verse to note is vs 13 were Paul convicts us not to abuse the freedom that we have in Christ. We often think that because we are saved, we can still behave in reckless ways because Jesus has taken all of our sins and washed them away. Yes that is right, we are free BUT we are made free so that we can serve one another in love. It’s through the love that we demonstrate to one another that people will know us to be the disciples of Jesus Christ [John13:34-35]
By walking in the Spirit, calling upon the Holy Spirit daily, hourly, minute by minute we will develop the fruits of the Spirit. It is not unusual that our flesh wants one thing and our gut/spirit/conscience says something else, vs 17 tells us that the desires of the flesh are against the desires of the Spirit. If we belong to Christ we have to crucify the passions and desires of the flesh and ask the Spirit to step into everyday situations. – Isha Webber
I was stuck on verses 1-3 for a while but this is my understanding of it. Christ saved us and set us free from sin and ‘religion’. Religion in the sense where, people feel that following the laws and commandments in the bible justifies them as Christians.
The example in the passage was circumcision, as that was the bone of contention between Paul and the scribes at the time. Being circumcised does not make you saved, thinking this nullifies the reason Christ came. His death gave every one, Jews & Gentiles the opportunity to know God. Circumcision was a Jewish custom mandatory for everyone that wanted to serve the God of Israel. (There is nothing wrong with circumcision by the way).
Christ is more interested in the state of our hearts and our desire to love him, depending on the law to be justified means that we do not require the grace Christ preached. – Ike Fabiyi
There is conflict between our flesh and our spirit.
God has given us liberty but that should not be used as an excuse to walk in the flesh.
We may try and justify ourselves by the law i.e. I don’t drink or have sex but we must realise that we are not saved by the law and depending on the law means that we fall short of his grace.
We receive his grace by walking in the spirit. Walking in the spirit means that we do not give into our fleshly desires (lust etc). When we are spirit led we are no longer under the law because we should be aiming to possess the fruits of the spirit.
Faith and Love supersede the Law and the Law is not present where the fruits of the spirit resides. – @LoveIsAVerb_X
v5:6- For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
The above scripture reinforces the idea that in Christ, we have freedom. We do not live to fulfil a list and feel proud of ourselves for keeping the commandments. That does nothing for us. Only loving others does. I remember once we had a big disagreement at Bible study regarding tattoos, and when we asked the bishop on his stance regarding this, he said there is one law in Christ, and that law is to love! It’s not about how you look, but your love.
Verse 13 goes on to say ‘For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.’ Our freedom is not be used in strip clubs, making it rain and abusing grace. It is to be used for love. To make the world a better place for all those who dwell in it. Verse 15 is clear that if we bite and devour one another, we must be careful or we will be consumed by one another. I find this scripture very relevant to my life at the moment. I see it as encouragement to support each other as opposed to being jealous, and constantly trying to out-do each other. If we fail to support the visions of those around us in love, we will spend our days consumed with what they are doing, how far ahead or behind us they are etc, instead of assessing our walk in life and with Christ, as well as practicing love.
Although the scripture ‘a little leaven leavens the whole lump’ is usually used in relation to gossip and negative things, it can also be applied in the context of love. A little love leads to love overall. If someone is sad, that act of kindness in making them smile or telling them they are beautiful could change their whole outlook. The little things matter!
In relation to the whole grace over law concept, we are told that if we walk in the Spirit we will have no fleshy desires. This therefore means that although we have ultimate freedom that comes through grace, walking in the Spirit is paramount in our exercise of that freedom. If we choose to be led by the Spirit, the choices we consequently make are congruent with the word of God- we do not lie, lust or lack love, not because we are trying to be good and tick boxes but because the Spirit is leading us. We fulfil the law through our walking in the Spirit, but don’t carry the burden of trying it ourselves.
Paul then goes on to list the fruits of the spirit and those of the flesh, which I can’t wait to dig into during the next few days. He says ‘against such there is no law’- no law as to who you love, how much peace you feel, how faithful you are. Oh my gosh! I’m excited!
There is also this idea that being a Christian is evidenced through your ability to speak in tongues, only listen to gospel music and more legalism. I completely believe your Christianity is based upon those fruits! -@michellenomsa.
Two specific things popped out to me in Galatians 5. These are that Faith is important and secondly that we have two natures. These both are very important for Christians to know. vs 6 says that when we are in Christ Jesus, it is not important we are circumcised or not. The important thing is faith-…” To me this means that, although it is important for us to follow the “law” such as the ten commandments, one of the main things as a Christians is FAITH. The Bible says in Heb 11:6 that “without faith it is impossible to please God…” This is talking about the basic faith in actually believing in God, but its also talking about a day to day faith that we should exercise at all times. This means believing that God is going to do before he does it; Heb 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
The second part of this chapter I mentioned was the spirit and Human nature. The bible tells us that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (EPH6:12) in Galations 5:13-25 we see a confirmation of this.
We as living beings have two natures, the natural, worldly, fleshly, sinful nature which is normal to us, but we also have the spirit being, which many people don’t recognise or acknowledge. We live in a world where the battle between spirit and flesh is heavy because “our sinful selves want what is against the spirit…” Well we often ask how do we know if it is our spirit or ourselves?… well Galatians 19-23 tells us the different characteristics of the two natures. Its easy to identify it. It is also easy to identify a Christian by the fruit they produce, are they loving or hateful? Joyous or Miserable? Patient or Short tempered and doubtful? Kind or Selfish? Good or Bad? faithful or unreliable? Gentle or rude? Self-Controlled or unstable?
I ask myself these questions, we all should. The spirit of God is living in us, but are we representing him as we should? Have we given up our old selfish ways? Have we died to ourselves and prayed “Lord less of me and more of you, Not my will but your will be done in my life” or do we still want to hold on to our old habits and traits?
“We get our new life from the Spirit” vs25, and we are free now because Christ made us free” so we should STAND strong and not change or turn back to our old ways.