If you’ve been in Christian circles for any length of time, you’ve heard a sermon or talk about the fruit of the Spirit. You’ve seen it on plaques in people’s homes, you’ve heard children’s songs about this list of virtues.
Galatians 5:22 says –
“the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.”
Our human tendency is to take list of character qualities like that and make them into a checklist that we have to strive toward. We feel good if we accomplish some of them in a given day, and bad and guilty if we don ‘t.
Is that what the Apostle Paul had in mind when he made the list in the first place? In this episode of the podcast I’m going to show you, what I believe to be Paul’s intention when he created this list of character qualities, and give you some ideas about how you can approach this list with your family (children) to help them understand the true source of those kinds of amazing character traits.
You see, our acceptance by God does not depend on our performance. There’s no list of rules, nor checkbox to obey each day in order for God to be happy with us. Throughout all of chapter five in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he repeats how Jesus has done enough – absolutely everything needed – for us to be accepted by God.
So, when Paul lists off the fruit of the Spirit, what he is saying is that as Christians, God has given us a new way to live – not by the law, but by the Spirit. And, since we now have the Spirit of God living inside of us, we can live according to His leadership in our lives.
Therefore, if we simply follow the Spirit’s lead, we will fulfill all the good things that God wants us to do. Galatians 5:16 tells us:
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
Things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are merely fruit that naturally come about from living according to the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
In terms of parenting, while it’s not entirely negative, we tend to give our kids a ton of different lists to accomplish in order to please us. Instead, we need to teach our kids to desire and seek the Holy Spirit’s leadership in their lives, which will naturally bare things like love, patience and self-control.
We can do this through good, healthy conversations and instruction so that they learn to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit, as He leads them.