Power for love, joy and peace comes from the Holy Spirit. In fact, love, joy, peace, patience and a host of other positive virtues are called the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). That is to say, just as the “fruit of the vine” is the fruit that the vine produces, the “fruit of the Spirit” is the fruit that the Spirit produces. We need the Holy Spirit if we are to have lives – and therefore marriages! – characterized by love, joy and peace. So how can we invite the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit in our lives?
Step One: Confess Known Sin
The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is not a force, but a person, and like any person He can be grieved. This is clearly seen in Ephesians 4. Right in the middle of commanding Christians not to speak unwholesome words and not to be bitter, angry and malicious people, Paul warns: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God …” (Ephesians 4:29). In short, it is our sin and rebellion that grieves the Holy Spirit. If we fail to confess and repent of sin, we cannot expect the Spirit to work in power in our lives and produce His holy fruit.
The first step to inviting the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit in our lives is to confess our sins to God and to repent of them. Are there known sins in your life that you have not confessed to God or repented of? As you consider this, remember God’s promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). When we confess our sins and turn from them, God will remove the guilt and filth of our sin completely: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). After confessing to God, we also need to consider whether this is a sin that we also need to confess and repent of before our spouse or another person. Jesus said, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
Step Two: Surrender the Control of Your Life to God
The second step to inviting the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit in our lives is to surrender the control of our life to God. That is to say, we must be willing to let His Spirit be the One who directs us and helps us to live in a way pleasing to God. “But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Notice that those who “walk by the Spirit” do “not carry out the desire of the flesh.” But you and I must be willing to let the Spirit lead us in God’s holy paths.
The world tells us that we lose too much if we surrender the control of our lives to God. Far from it! Jesus says that he came so that we “may have life and have it abundantly”! (John 10:10). Indeed, those who surrender their lives to God and the leading of His Spirit have these things to look forward to: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). We have everything to gain by submitting ourselves to God and the leading of His Spirit!
Step Three: Walk by Faith in the Power of the Holy Spirit
The Bible makes it clear that everyone who has trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior has the Holy Spirit. Writing to Christians in Ephesus, the Apostle Paul said, “…you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13). As a result, every Christian has access to the power of the Holy Spirit. This means that we have power to live lives characterized by all of the Holy Spirit’s fruit mentioned above, things such as love, joy and peace (see Galatians 5:22-23).
So what is required of us? The third step is to believe that God has indeed given us His Holy Spirit and that we therefore have the Spirit’s power to enable us to live godly lives. On the one hand this will mean that we will look to God and His strength to be more loving, more joyful, and more peaceful. On the other hand it will mean that we have confidence that God, by His Spirit, can actually help us to become this way!!
1. Confess any known sin to God; where necessary, confess and repent before others you have sinned against.
2. Let God know that you want your life to be lived completely for Him.
3. Believe that God can strengthen you by His Spirit and give you the power you need to bear the Holy Spirit’s fruit. Choose one Christian friend and ask him or her to pray for you in specific areas where you know you need more of the Holy Spirit’s fruit.
© 2003 Christian Family Life
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