Christian, does it ever seem that the Christian life does not live up to the hype? Is the joy and peace being a Christian should bring beginning to look like something we experience in heaven instead of something attainable during this life?
If this seems to be the case, please read on.
In agriculture, if you desire apples, you plant an apple tree. If you want a field of corn, you plant corn seed. It is a Biblical principle – you reap what you sow.
When an individual attains salvation through the blood of Christ, the Holy Spirit immediately begins to dwell in their heart. This indwelling makes the Christian the Temple of God – God, in the form of the Holy Ghost, lives inside of them.
During the Sermon on the Mount, Christ tells us, “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20, see also Matthew 7:16). Paul later explains that the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23).
We see the Word fruit in both passages, so it is easy to put them together. Jesus is telling us the Holy Spirit sets the Christian apart by bringing love, joy, peace, and so on into their hearts and lives.
By using the metaphor “fruit,” both passages indicate that the Christian must apply agriculture laws. The planting of the Holy Spirit occurs upon salvation – there is your seed. But the seed, once planted, needs water, fertilizer, and sunshine to produce a bumper crop.
Christian, how well are you accomplishing your spiritual farming?
The first three verses of the Psalms begin to give us the agricultural instructions for harvesting the fruit of the Spirit.
Let us look at Psalm 1:3 first; it explains the results of the spiritual farming process, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
There is a continual supply of water; the fruit comes in its season (this will come up later), the results will not fade away. The spiritual bounty will continue to increase.
How did we get to this point – of abundantly producing the fruit of the Spirit?
In Psalm 1:1-2, there are five steps, the agricultural process, of producing the fruit. For Psalm 1:1, I will paraphrase.
Step one – The Christian does not heed ungodly advice. The counsel needed during life comes from the Bible.
Step two – Sin is put beyond arms reach. Stay away from sin as much as humanly possible.
Step three – Get pride out of your heart, especially looking down your nose at other people.
Now on to the next two parts of harvesting the fruit of the Spirit. Psalm 1:2, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
Do you delight in God’s Word? How can you tell? The easiest way is to look in your heart and see how much you look forward to reading or hearing the Scripture. If you never think about reading the Bible, you probably do not delight in it. If, as you drive down the road listening to the radio, the music stops, and the preaching begins, and you change the channel, it is unlikely you are eager to get into God’s Word.
When it comes to meditating in the Word – how often do you think of the Scripture when you are not reading it or listening to a sermon? When decisions need making, do you think, “What does the Bible say about what I should do?” If the Bible is an afterthought or not considered, meditation is nonexistent.
Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance are the fruit of the Spirit. Fruit does not come without good farming. If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit is planted already. How much godly counsel, abstinence from sin, lack of pride, delight in, and thinking of the scriptures do you accomplish?
The joy and peace you seek and cannot attain are not because God is unfaithful to His promises. These things, among others, are fruit that must be harvested. How good of a spiritual farmer are you?
Now about the “in his season,” I asked you to remember.
The fruit of Spirit is progressive. Love, joy, peace, and so on. You cannot have true peace without joy in your heart; you cannot have a god-like joy without love.
In other words, first comes love, then we can harvest joy, then peace is attainable, after peace we come to the longsuffering harvest, then on through the rest of the list.
To sum it up, the reason someone does not have the love, joy, peace, God promises could be for one of two reasons.
One, the person is not saved, and therefore the Holy Spirit does not dwell inside of them. If this is the case, the seed needed to produce the fruit is not there. No amount of watering will produce a crop without seed.
Two, the Christian is not doing the required spiritual farming.
If the fruit of the Spirit seems nonexistent in your life, start praying. Find out from God which of the two above is the problem.
Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Website: www.preachers-point.com; Email: [email protected]; Mail: 25 W 1200 N; Kingman IN 47952. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Timothy-Preacher-Johnson-101171088326638. All Scripture KJV.