Is Your Fruit Evident?
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (meekness), self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-25
We heard a wonderful lesson this Sunday regarding the 'signs.' Signs of Christ who was to come and who came and who fulfilled prophecy. Signs of mankind's war with sin and the need for God. And signs of our Christian walk today; our conviction, the lessons we learn from the bible and from each other, and our biblical charge.
The signs are everywhere, all around us. But what signs are we giving, what signs do we hold up. Are we bearing fruits? Do our actions proclaim Christ or do they proclaim self? The latter part of the quoted text is where I want to focus. "If we live in the Spirit..." there is the implied choice. "If" is the defining notion, the condition which describes the charge: "let us also walk in the Spirit."
I hear many an excuse from people who desire to be the "minimalist" Christian or the "closet" Christian. They skirt by justifying their inaction, rationalizing themselves out of the faith. When confronted with the reality of their walk they deflect any accountability giving the statement, "You don't know what is in my heart, only God does." While this is true we can know each other by the signs we hold, by the fruits we bear (Matt 7:15-20). We have a standard Christ has provided for us and honest reflection can tell us how Christ-like our walk is and whether we are truly committed Christians or going through the motions like "wolves in sheep skin."
I make a conscious effort each and every day to reflect on my actions, to account for the things I've said and the people I may have hurt, to consider the people I may have neglected. I then formulate a plan of action to amend my wrongs, to practice humility and conflict resolution, and to be a better Christian. I think this is the key to Galatians 5:25. This is the "walk" Paul is describing. How, then, does that walk look? Like verses 22-24.