Hello Friends, and welcome to the beginning of our study through the Fruit of the Spirit! This week officially marks our halfway point through our Neue Thing Challenge 2019. From January 1st of this year, we have set out to know Jesus more through the study and memorization of His Word, and I have loved every week in this challenge with each one of you. Who has been memorizing our weekly Bible verses? Who has been following along on the blog? What a joy it has been to study, memorize, and dive into God’s Word with you. Thank you for being on this journey with me!
For the next three months, we will be studying the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23 with the intention of learning how to live God’s Word. We spent three months studying God’s Word followed by another three months of praying God’s Word. Now, we will move into living God’s Word. We’ll score through Scripture together, uncovering as much as we can about each one of these fruit, and we’ll also hear from some incredible women who will share with you how they have experienced these fruit growing in their own lives. I just can’t wait to start this new series with you!
Before we can charge ahead into the list of the Fruit, we must first take a good, long look at their source. I’ve always loved John 15. Being a visual learner, I so appreciate the imagery in passages like this that teaches us such powerful truths. The entirety of John 15 is Jesus’ words, Him speaking. If you have a red-letter Bible, you’ll see this very clearly. The chapter begins with a bold and confident declaration from His mouth:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1 ESV
In these few words, Jesus declares Himself to be the source…the source of life, the source of growth, the source of fruit. The passage goes on to paint this beautiful picture of what it really looks like to abide in Christ. Throughout the years of my relationship with Christ, I’ve heard about this concept countless times, and I think I fell in and out of a good understanding of what it actually means to abide.
The word “abide” means to live, continue, or remain. Therefore, to abide in Christ is to live in Him (or to find your life in Him), to continue in Him, and to remain in Him. It’s a life that is fully connected to Jesus in every way. It’s complete dependency on Christ. It’s regular communion. It’s depth of relationship with Him. It’s desire to be in His presence.
Abiding in Christ is the posture and position of all true believers. If you and I are “in Christ,” (the phrase repeatedly used to refer to those who have been saved by God’s grace) then we will abide in Him. It’s that simple. There is no real life, no real fruit, no real growth apart from being connected to Him—counterfeit versions perhaps, but nothing genuine or lasting. If we are not abiding in Christ, we are not true followers of Him. Abiding in Christ is a reference to our salvation.
“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 NIV
And here we have it—the launching pad for our next series together: The Fruit of the Spirit. When I read through Galatians 5:22-23, I often think about the fruit that I feel deficient in or the areas in which I know I need to grow. There is then this natural tendency within me to try to manufacture that growth on my own. I want to be more patient, so I’m going to work on being more patient. But, that’s not how it works. Jesus is the only one who can grow the fruit in us. He’s the only one who can produce it. Our desire and determination or even our good intentions will not cause us to bear much fruit. Nope. Only abiding does that. And what is this fruit that John 15 repeatedly speaks of?
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Do you want to be more joyful? Abide in Christ. Do you want to be more self-controlled? Stay connected to the Vine. Do you want to be more peaceful? Find your life in Jesus, and you will bear much fruit, for apart from Jesus Christ, you and I can do nothing.