Posted by: Bob Clark | December 28, 2004

The Spirit is the Lifeblood

I recently began reading Life On The Vine Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit in Christian Community by Philip D. Kenneson. My mind was greatly stirred by this opening paragraph on page 15.

“The Spirit is the lifeblood of the church, the vivifying force that makes its very existence possible. Without the Spirit the church is either an empty and lifeless shell or a horrific monstrosity animated by some spirit other than the Spirit of the risen Jesus. Of course, it’s not always easy to tell which spirit animates the church; nevertheless, Jesus suggests that one way to discern a plant’s pedigree is to examine its fruit. If the Spirit of Christ genuinely animates the church, then it should be bearing the fruit of that Spirit. If some other spirit animates it, then we would expect it to be bearing different fruit. Therefore, one of the critical questions we need to address to the contemporary church is not simply ‘Is it bearing fruit?’ Rather, we need to ask the more pointed question, ‘Is the fruit that the church is bearing the fruit of the Spirit?’ ”

These words drove me to the scriptures to read once more God’s word concerning the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-26.

Galatians 5:22-26 NIV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. [24] Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. [25] Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [26] Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Galatians 5:22-26 NLT

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. [24] Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. [25] If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. [26] Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.

And God’s word drove me to my knees in praise of God’s powerful influence in my life, in confession of my frequent unwillingness to yield control to His Spirit, in repentance asking God to again determine my direction, and in thanksgiving for His working through the seasons of my life to bear the fruit of His Holy Spirit.

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