Fruit is a wonderful food source full of tasty nutrition. But this is only the case when the fruit is fresh. When it gets old and rotten it just causes a stink and draws flies and gnats.
Most of us will remember this list of the fruit of the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:22-23 WEB) 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
This passage comes after a long list of worldly sins. Sins that we would presume don’t exist in the church. So why the following verses? These are not a repeat of worldly sins. But they’re unfortunately unique to the church and the reason many have turned away from the church.
We have been given a great charge – along with a great responsibility.
(Galatians 5:24-26 WEB) 24And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26Let us not be desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
This passage starts off with the premise that we have given up worldly passions. And it continues with the premise that we are walking in the Spirit. It then admonishes us to stop being worldly and hurtful. The “fruit of the Spirit” in the last verse seems to be absent from church life.
In this passage the first two verses are positive and the third is negative. And indeed if new converts are given responsibilities beyond their spiritual understanding; their worldly habits will come to the forefront. Unfortunately older members who have not been discipled may also fall into worldly habits.
Discipleship is essential if a church is going to create a spiritually mature number of believers who will indeed walk in the Spirit. A sign of spiritually mature Chrisitans are believers who can effectively hold each other accountable.
(Galatians 6:1-5 WEB) 1Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye who are spiritual, restore such one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3For if a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5For every man shall bear his own burden.
The key word in the passage above is meekness. We must do everything in the church based on God’s desires and not our own. We must be willing to listen and to compromise. Mutual support must be ubiquitous. Failing to build strong Christians (aka iron sharpens iron) will leave the church in a continual state of falling short of their vision and God’s vision.
The church needs committed followers of Jesus Christ to carry out God’s mission of saving the lost and caring for the needy. Too many churches have let vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another habits control the church.