Christianity 201

May 28, 2014

The Fruit of the Spirit and the Character of God

Today’s piece is from a classic book The Fruit of the Spirit by Stuart Briscoe, published in 1983.


 

The connection between fruit and root is obvious not only in matters of horticulture, but also in spiritual things.  The aspects of the fruit of the Spirit listed by Paul could just as easily be listed as characteristics of the nature of God.  The love of God is probably his most universally appreciated characteristic.  His joy in creation and his special rejoicing over his children is clearly taught.  That he is Jehovah Shalom, “the God of Peace,” is fundamental to our spiritual well-being, and without his patience there would be no such thing as opportunity for repentance.  Believers bask in the fact that his severity is tempered by his goodness and find their assurance in his unchanging faithfulness.  In fact it is important to remember that Jehovah in his self-revelation to Moses, used many aspects of the fruit of the Spirit to describe himself.

 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

Christian behavior prompted by the Spirit is similar to divine behavior, and Christian character bears marked similarities to the character of God.  The connection of root and fruit is clear to the eye of faith

The Fruit of the Spirit The Character of God
Love God is Love (I John 4:16)
Joy He will rejoice over you (Zeph. 3:17)
Peace The God of Peace (Heb 13:20)
Patience He is patient with you (2 Pet. 3:9)
Kindness His Kindness to us (Eph. 2:7)
Goodness I will see the goodness of the Lord (Ps. 27:13)
Faithfulness Great is your faithfulness (Lam. 3:23)
Meekness I am gentle and humble (Matt. 11:29)
Self-Control He has shown strength [related Gr. Word] Luke 1:51

Christian behavior prompted by the Spirit is similar to divine behavior, and Christian character bears marked similarities to the character of God.  The connection of root and fruit is clear to the eye of faith…

…It must also be understood that Christians are commanded to reproduce this unusual quality of life.  The command may not be, “Take a good look at this and try harder,” but it is there nevertheless.  To many people the idea of commanding fruit to grow seems ludicrous.  I have even heard preachers deriding such an idea.  They have great fun imitating someone telling a tree to grow and twisting themselves into knots as a means of showing how impossible it is for branches to obey commands through their own efforts.  The Scriptures, however, do not seem to regard the idea as ludicrous, as will be clearly seen from the following quotations:

The Fruit of the Spirit The Command of Scripture
Love Love the Lord; Love your neighbor (Matt 22:37-39)
Joy Rejoice in the Lord (Phil 4:4)
Peace Seek peace and pursue it (I Pet. 3:11)
Patience Be patient with everyone (I Thess. 5:14)
Kindness Clothe yourself with kindness (Col. 3:12)
Goodness Let us do good to all people (Gal. 6:10)
Faithfulness Be faithful, even to the point of death (Rev. 2:10)
Meekness Show true humility toward all men (Titus 3:2)
Self-Control Add to your knowledge self-control (2 Pet. 1:5-6)

— from the introduction, pp 6-8

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: