Saturday, February 22, 2014

February 22: The Spirit + His fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control... Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.  (Galatians 5:22-25  NET)

When Jesus Christ was baptized in water, the Holy Spirit came upon Him and the voice of the Father spoke from heaven expressing His approval of what His Son was doing. At that moment Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered for His ministry. Just like Jesus needed the Holy Spirit to do His work on earth, we also need Him in order to truly live by faith and to remain faithful to the very end. God’s Spirit gives us the strength to overcome hardship, turns us into powerful witnesses for Him, and transforms our character. 

It is no coincidence that immediately after His baptism the Spirit led Him into the desert to be tempted for 40 days and 40 nights. My opinion is that without the Spirit He would not have been able to endure that desert—though He was God, He was also a man. Why else would the baptism in the Spirit immediately precede the desert? Not only that, the Bible tells us that the Spirit led Him into the desert. A desert is a time of testing, of stretching our faith, learning about ourselves and about God, and learning to trust in the Almighty and His faithfulness to His word. The deserts was necessary for Jesus, and it is necessary for us. If we are baptized in the Spirit, just like He led Jesus into the Judean wilderness, He will lead us into our own deserts, and if we are smart, we will trust in Him and learn from those times.

Deserts help us to develop all 9 qualities of the Spirit’s fruit. He comes with all 9 qualities, but throughout our lives we have to continue to crucify the flesh and its desires and walk by the Spirit. He is not like the devil; He will not force us into doing what He wants. The Holy Spirit values our own free will and expects us to fight to experience more of Him in our lives. That’s why the last phrase of this passage encourages: if we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit.

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