In Gal 5:19-22, we read: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”
I reckon most people would agree that the “sinful nature” lifestyle list of dubious acts, are to be seriously avoided if we wished to be happy people living in a happy community. The problem seems to be that these are the things that come easily, almost naturally, with us human beings. We need to fight against it, and even make laws to protect people against themselves and their neighbours. Some of these attitudes tend to lurk just beneath the surface, germinating or festering, and may erupt with serious consequences. A case in point may be the recent outburst of lawless pandemonium and plundering in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
The fruit of the Spirit attitudes, on the other hand, are the ones that combine to enrich and uplift ourselves as well as the people around us. And, as for any normal fruit such as oranges, apples and bananas, trees need to be planted, cared for, protected against pests and predators, and nurtured to fruition and enjoyment. At the right stages, the trees of a farming orchard ought to be pruned and the soil fertilised, in order that we may reap a good harvest. The Holy Spirit wants to work in our lives, nurturing as well as pruning, to bring about these beneficial acts and attitudes.
The cross of Jesus plays a crucial role in all of this because it forms the basis of a life-changing experience. Jesus died in a human body, among other considerations, to break the power of the natural sinful human being, and He rose from the dead to give us the hope of a new and fruitful life, in which the Spirit works to infuse the character and lifestyle of Jesus – of which the fruit of the Spirit is a sign and testimony. The fruit of the Spirit is desirable, tasty, healthy and worthy to be pursued by all.
Strauss de Jager, NG Kerk