The Reading: Galatians 5:16-25
“… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace …” (v.22) RSV
Now, of course we know there are nine fruit of the Spirit as listed by Paul in his letter to the Galatians, however the first three – love, joy and peace (v.22) are usually linked together; maybe because they are the first three and our memory is challenged to remember the remaining six!
The fruit of the Spirit really all hang together. They are not divisible. If we lose one, we lose all. Unlike the ‘gifts’ of the Spirit they are not apportioned out, one to one and another to another (1 Cor. 12:11). All nine aspects of the fruit lie accessible to every believer.
Love, joy and peace are the marks of a follower of Christ; they are also a blessing to that follower. These three energise us. Their opposites, hatred, misery and stress, drain us of life. So in every way we want to pursue love, joy and peace.
Love forgets about self and seeks the blessing and welfare of others. This is supremely demonstrated for us in the love of God who “sent his only begotten son” to save us (John 3:16).
Joy enables us to ‘re-joice’ in all circumstances. Joy is a steady state dependent not on circumstances, but on the blessed presence of God, a sense that all things work together for good, and above all, the wonderful prospects set before us. Remember Jesus “who for the joy set before him endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Peace is not produced by absence of conflict; that is the peace which the world can give. The peace of God passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7), and gives us calm in the midst of the storm.
Forgive me Lord when I am not filled with your Spirit. Fill me afresh with your love, joy and peace. Amen.
1 Which two ‘fruit’ does Paul link in Romans?
Romans 14:17, 15:13
2 How are we filled with the Spirit?