by Dr. Charles Stanley
The Fruit of the Spirit
The Holy Spirit’s presence is essential to living the Christian life. The work that believers are called to do cannot be fruitful apart from Him—our sinful nature would always be hindering any attempt we’d make to be Christlike. Consider the example of the disciple Peter: he spent three years eating, sleeping, and learning in the presence of Jesus, and yet, before the Crucifixion, he nevertheless denied knowing the Lord. Peter was unable to live the Christian life on his own. But when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, the coward became a powerful preacher.
What happened to Peter happens to every person who receives Jesus, but many do not realize what a resource is available to them—God’s Spirit is the believer’s internal motivator for expressing external evidence of faith. He provides the power to live the Christian life and work effectively for the Lord.
The visible proof we present is the fruit of the Spirit. Some aspects may be stronger in our life than others. They may not all be expressed at the same time in the same proportion, but every one of those characteristics is within us because the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts.
The practical truth is that we must exercise spiritual attitudes even if we don’t feel them. We are to be loving, though we may not feel love. We are to be kind when harshness makes more sense humanly. We are to practice patience when anger wants to take over. And the great mystery is that when we rely on the Spirit, our heart changes—love takes root, kindness feels right, and patience produces a peaceful spirit.
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