Exercise the Fruit

(BE TRANSFORMED - BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT)

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I’ve been told that the key to healthy living is a combination of healthy diet and physical exercise. Of course, this sounds a lot easier that done. The truth is that both, healthy diet and physical exercise, require a commitment to discipline. Without such commitment the healthy diet and the physical exercise become nothing but wishful thinking. 

I don’t know how you sit with discipline. But it has dawned on me that the same principle applies to spiritual health. The same combination of “spiritual diet”, involving the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of godliness. Here is what the Apostle Paul shares with young Timothy: “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4: 8) 

The greatest evidence of a transformed life is of course the presence of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8: 9 tells us that if anyone does not have the Holy Spirit, they do not belong to God. Now, the Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit of God produces certain spiritual fruit.

Listen to what the Bible says in Galatians 5: 22 - 26: 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”

LOVE / JOY / PEACE / PATIENCE / KINDNESS / GOODNESS / FAITHFULNESS / GENTLENESS AND SELF-CONTROL. 

If anyone was to ask what does a Christian looks like, the answer must include these character traits. If the Holy Spirit lives in us, then the fruit is automatically produced. It’s not about whether we have the fruit or not. It’s more of a question whether we exercise this fruit or not. If the Holy Spirit is there, the fruit is there. Our problem is, our lack of exercise. 

Let me go back to physical health. You see, unless there is a major issue, all of us have all the necessary muscles in our bodies. The difference is, some of us spend more time than others, training these muscles in order to be healthier. The muscles are there, all of them. The issue is exercise. 

Let me be more direct. The Holy Spirit produces in my live love, enough love to cover all my circumstances. I need to accept that God allows people and circumstances in my life in order to get me to exercise the fruit of the Holy Spirit, just like an athlete exercises his muscles. So, when I meet a difficult person instead of reacting angrily I can say: Here is a situation where I can exercise the fruit of love. Maybe another situation requires me to exercise the fruit of patience or kindness or even self-control. 

I have learnt that the first session of physical exercise is the most painful. The muscles you exercise hurt, at first, however the second and third sessions become better and easier. 

The exercise of your spiritual fruit will make it easier for you to overcome situations and difficulties. Remember, they are all there. Exercise the fruit and you’ll get to enjoy the spiritual benefits of such godly training. It’s all for your good. 

Tags: Holy Spirit, Fruit of the Spirit, Exercise, Spiritual discipline, Spiritual practice


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