The Fruitfulness of the Spirit
I feel it is necessary to continue the discussion on achieving good works. It is necessary to discuss what will help those works to become more fruitful. Imagine you have been given a basket of fruit (like the one pictured above). All of the fruits are beautiful and not tainted with imperfection. Each fruit has its own shape, color, and each provides a different nutritional value. Bananas contain potassium, whereas oranges contain Vitamin C. Both have very different tastes. Some fruits have a sweeter taste while others are bitterer in taste. Each has something different to offer.
You might be wondering how fruits can relate to good works. Let us turn to Galatians 5. Paul discussed the importance of faith and how that faith should be lived out to others. He affirmed this is done through the works of the Spirit and not of the flesh. “For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness.” (Gal. 5:5, CSB) He described the freedom of service that we possess. We have the freedom to choose how we serve other and this is also influences our motives.
Paul urges us to live by the Spirit. When you live by the Spirit you cannot gratify the desires of the flesh. You can only live by the Spirit OR the flesh, not by both. There is a strong tension that causes these to be opposed to each other. Paul affirmed this opposition so that we avoid fulfilling our desires over God’s.
It is important to understand what the works of the flesh. Paul claimed they have an obvious presence.
These are the works of the flesh that we must avoid:
- Outbursts of anger
- Acts of selfishness
- Occasions of envy, and so on.
We will all encounter these at one point or another in our lives. Some of these are more tempting than others. These are what we have to avoid because if we do not then we will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
Paul provided us with the works that will help us to live out our faith in a more fruitful way.
These are the works we must achieve:
These are the fruitful works that we are called to live by. Paul has provided us with the guidelines. All we have to do is follow them. I must issue a word of caution. The implementation of these guidelines may prove to be more difficult to achieve. The works of the flesh are difficult to avoid and the works of the Spirit may be difficult to achieve. However, we should not despair because we have the help of the Holy Spirit on our side. It is through our baptism, that we are united with the Holy Spirit. The struggle emerges when we fight against the Spirit. However, if we allow the Spirit to work through us then we can achieve the Good Life through good works.
These are things that will make our lives fruitful.