After listing the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, the apostle Paul urges those made alive by the Spirit to walk in the Spirit in verse 25. It was the Spirit of God who made us alive initially. Paul is urging believers to walk now in the power of the same Spirit who made them alive. In other words, we need to live out the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Paul gives some specific ways we can do this in the context of the body of Christ in Galatians 5:26-6:2.
There is a clear contrast in these verses. When the flesh prevails in our life one of the results will be that we will be provoking and/or envying one another. The main result of walking in the Spirit is not some mystical experience, not goose-bumps, speaking in tongues, etc., but practical relationships of love with our brothers and sisters in Christ. When the Spirit prevails in our life (i.e., when we are walking in the Spirit), we will bear one another’s burdens. It is as if Paul is saying, “Let me illustrate the first characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit, love.”
Sometimes we get a distorted idea about what love is.
One night, a man decided to show his wife how much he loved her. So after dinner he began to recite romantic poetry, telling her he would climb high mountains to be near her, swim wide oceans, cross deserts in the burning heat of day, and even sit at her window and sing love songs to her in the moonlight.
After listening to him go on for some time about this immense love he had, the husband became suddenly quiet when she asked, “But will you do the dishes for me?”
We are good at promising grand actions in theory, but not so good at doing the small practical things day by day. In a similar way we can say that we love all of humanity in general, without actually showing love to anyone in particular.
Can you imagine with me what this might look like in your church? What if everyone were filled with the Spirit of God, producing the fruit of the Spirit, and walking in the Spirit? All strife would cease! Your church would indeed become a hospital for hurting people. God’s love would be shown in real and tangible ways. Sinners would be welcome and restored. People wouldn’t have to pretend that they were perfect and not hurting inside, because they would know that God’s people would love them through whatever they were facing. God would be glorified, because only He can produce this in our hearts.
We need one another!
In 2006, multiple time Tour of France winner Lance Armstrong ran in the NYC Marathon. He barely met his goal of less than 3 hours by less than 30 seconds. Armstrong said that he never would have been able to finish the race were not for the tremendous crowd who were cheering him on.
We’re all in a race, and there is absolutely no way that anyone of us will cross the finish line on our own. We need one another to encourage, restore, love and pray for us. We need to walk in the power of the fruit of the Spirit for this to happen. May God grant it to be so.