But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Love is the fruit of the Spirit. The Christian life cannot be likened to identical, mass-produced goods. Mankind uses methods to produce goods – this requires machinery, investment, manpower etc. Some Churches and Christian movements seem to operate on this kind of principle! But the truth is that all our efforts cannot alter the motivation of the human heart, nor produce a single atom of love. If there is no love in my heart, then all my striving and tears and pleading will not change my state. Love is a fruit, and therefore two things are required to produce it – seed, and the right conditions for growth. If I am to grow in the life of the Spirit, then I must receive living seed from God, and keep my heart in the right condition for that seed to flourish and grow. This is consistent with Jesus’s teaching in the parable of the sower and other parables, where the power of growth lies in the seed itself, and growth comes of itself, in a way that the receiver does not understand. We cannot hurry it – we can only patiently nourish and cherish that precious seed. The Christian life, then, is like a plant that grows. It cannot be transplanted as a ready-grown plant. Growth may sometimes be imitated, perhaps through intensive Bible courses or Bible schools. But though these things have their place, they are not a substitute for true spiritual growth. What then is the seed? It is Christ Himself, by the Spirit – we must receive Him into our life and as our life. It is not enough for us to ‘make a decision’ to follow Christ or to ‘seek to follow’ His teaching; we must receive Christ deep into our being as our life, so that we say, with the apostle, “Christ, who is our life …” – Colossians 3:4.
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