The Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 5:18, wrote, “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.”
It is wonderful to be “born of the Holy Spirit” at our conversion. At this point, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and the Bible says our bodies become the “temples of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
Now, Paul says that we as Christians must go on “being filled with the Holy Spirit.” It speaks of continuous action. The literal rendering is “be being filled with the Holy Spirit.”
How does this happen? How can we be continually filled with the Holy Spirit? I love the way O. S. Hawkins explains it, so I pass it on to you.
“Step 1 is to Confess. We must come clean with God. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The next step is to Crown Jesus, the LORD of our life. In Romans 14:9 we read, “to this end, Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be LORD of both the dead and the living.”
Lastly, we are to claim all of this by faith. Mark 11:24 says “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
To crown Jesus as LORD of our lives literally means to come under the rule of God as King of kings and LORD of lords of our lives. When we live under the continuous rule of God, the Holy Spirit, the fruit begins to develop in our lives. In Galatians 5:22-23, we read, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
We, as Christians, are designed to be fruitful. In Matthew 7:20 Jesus said “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the Vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” In Matthew 7:20 Jesus said, “By their fruits, you will know them.”
Let’s look at the fruit that Paul describes in Galatians 5:22-23. There are nine in all, and it seems to me they hang in three clusters with three in each cluster.
A. The first cluster is Love, Joy, and Peace.
Would you say that your life is characterized by these three fruits?
1. Love – the Greek word here is AGAPE. This is literally, God’s love flowing into and through our lives. It is intentional. It always seeks the good of others. In Romans 5:5 we read “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
It seems to me that this agape love is the fountain from which the rest of the fruit emerges.
2. Joy – would you say that your life is characterized by joy? Again, this fruit finds its source in Christ. In John 15:11 He said to His disciples “These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full.”
In Acts 5:41 we read of the attitude of the apostles who had been beaten and threatened. “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for His name.” The Holy Spirit will produce this fruit in our lives as well.
3. Peace is the third fruit in this first cluster.
We can be at peace with God which is wonderful, but we can have the peace of God abiding in our lives. On the night of His betrayal Jesus said to His disciples “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
Peace is not just the absence of conflict and turmoil, but the sense of a right relationship with God and also a sense that all is well. (See also John 15:18-19)
In John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
I will continue this meditation next week. I pray that each of us will examine our lives to see if we have these three types of fruit continually being witnessed by others. If not, ask the Holy Spirit what is hindering this kind of fruit from developing in your life. He will show you. When He does, be sure to listen.
For His glory, Pastor Leonard