Picture in your mind an apple tree loaded with ripe, red apples. Big, juicy apples are weighing down the branches until they brush the ground. Below, dozens have fallen and cover the ground like a quilt. You have no doubt what kind of tree it is. It’s an apple tree!
Then picture another tree. It has no fruit hanging on the branches. There’s no fruit lying on the ground. There’s no fruit anywhere. You don’t know what kind of tree it is!
Galatians 5:16-26 explains how to produce the fruit of the Spirit and cast aside the lust of the flesh.
“16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Pay special attention to the bolded words, “walk by the Spirit”. The Greek word for walk is peripateo. It means “follow as a companion”. If we live our lives with the Holy Spirit as our constant companion, we will not entertain those fleshly desires.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (NIV)
Verse 25 says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
The Greek word translated “keep in step” is stoicheo. It means “to march in military rank, to conform to.”
It’s just like marching in a group. I’ve never served in the military, but I once marched in a band. In the 6th grade I was a majorette. The most exciting event of the summer was the 4th of July parade! I knew I had to keep in step with the others or I would stand out like a sore thumb. (I also had to try really hard not to drop my baton!)
To keep in step while marching means following the voice of the one calling the cadence. You don’t watch your feet! Likewise, keeping in step with the Spirit means following Him, focusing on Jesus and His precious Word.
Doing those things will produce the Fruit of the Spirit in your life and everyone will know what kind of “tree” you are. These are the characteristics that will define you: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Don’t be discouraged if your fruit doesn’t develop overnight. It takes an apple seed 5 to 10 years to make an apple! But when we’re serious about our relationship with God, He will change us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. Our part is to “keep in step” with the Holy Spirit. God will do the rest!
May God bless you as you yield to His will and follow in His steps, allowing the Lord to develop in you the precious fruit of the Spirit.
This Is My Journey Unscripted.
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