If you have ever watched the harvesting of grapes, you know that two people usually work together. One person holds an open basket while the other cuts the grapes and lays the clusters into the container. As long as the basket carrier keeps the basket open and follows closely along with the cutter, her fruit basket will soon be filled to overflowing. But if she closes the basket or lags behind, she cannot receive the fruit.
The fruit of the Spirit is character rather than conduct; it is being rather than doing.
In a similar way, as long as you walk closely with the Lord and keep your life open to receive the daily filling of the Holy Spirit, your life will be filled with the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is character rather than conduct; it is being rather than doing. Many people mistakenly refer to the "fruits" of the Spirit. However, the fruit of the Spirit is a single fruit, not an assortment. It is the whole of God's nature imparted to us and flowing out of us as evidence that the Spirit resides in us. God's nature is not fragmented. We cannot receive just one aspect of His being. If we abide in Christ, we will bear all the fruit of the Spirit, not some fruit.
The apostle Paul summarized the composite nature of God's character as "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). This also describes the fruit that the Holy Spirit bears in our lives.
We cannot talk ourselves into developing these character traits. We cannot study our way into them. They are the byproduct of our allowing the Spirit to do His work in us as we abide in the words of Christ Jesus, obey His commands, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Jesus commands us to stay connected to Him, to abide in Him, to rely upon Him, and to turn to Him when facing every decision. Abiding involves becoming so connected to Him that we no longer can tell where our will ends and His begins.
When we experience the moment-by-moment filling of God's Spirit, we begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit. That's when we start to manifest the outworking of the Holy Spirit's presence. His work will transform our thoughts and emotions as well as our behavior toward others.
Will you ask the Lord today to keep you connected to the vine? If you feel that your connection has been broken, ask Him to restore you and to make you fruitful today.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to walk so closely with You that I manifest Your character through the fruit of Your Spirit. I want to abide always in You and have You abide in me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).