Gifts, Fruit, and the Ways of The Flesh :: By Nathele Graham 

There are many gifts that are available to believers in Jesus Christ. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4). Every Christian is given at least one gift, but some receive more than one. It’s possible that we’ll be temporarily given a gift of the Spirit in a time of need, but then we don’t see it manifest in our life again. Many times, we aren’t aware of what gift or gifts we’ve been given, but if we live our life to please God, then we can be assured that we’re using our gift in spite of being unaware of what it is.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

We bless others when we use the gifts of the Spirit. Don’t confuse the “gifts” with “fruit.”

Paul was a man who had given his life fully to Jesus Christ. He had been a servant of Satan, disguised as a Pharisee, before he met Jesus and his life changed dramatically. After his encounter with Jesus, Paul was fully dedicated to the service of our Lord. He understood about the gifts of the Spirit because he was given many gifts by God. He also knew that anyone who has truly been born again should have a changed nature… one that reflects Jesus. Paul’s nature had changed when he surrendered to Jesus, and he wrote about this change in his letter to the Christians in Galatia.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

Notice that when talking about the Spiritual gifts, he uses the plural. There are many gifts of the Spirit, and not everyone has the same gift, but when listing the fruit of the Spirit, it’s singular. When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us. That’s when our human nature should be changed to reflect God. Instead of many fruits, like there are many gifts, it’s just one new attitude that should rule our life. It’s not that some Christians should bear the fruit of love while others bear the fruit of joy or peace, but all the fruit should be manifest in a born-again Christian’s life.

What is “born-again,” you might ask? For the answer to that, we turn to Jesus’ own words. One evening, a Pharisee came to Jesus with some questions. As always, when someone truly seeks answers, Jesus makes things clear. Nicodemus had knowledge of the Jewish laws, but he wanted to know more about what Jesus taught. He had been aware of Jesus, what He taught, and the healings He had done. Nicodemus knew that Jesus came from God, but didn’t understand that Jesus was God. Jesus gave an answer that confused Nicodemus.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). 

If we stop there, we too can be confused. This second birth isn’t a physical rebirth but a spiritual one. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6).

We are all born into this physical world, and there are things we just have to accept, such as how tall we are. We learn to cope with physical challenges. It’s the spiritual side of us that’s affected when we’re born again… born of the Spirit.

When my husband gave his life to Christ, the change was dramatic. He was a great guy but reacted to things in a worldly manner. The day he yielded his life to Christ, I saw two immediate changes. The first day of his newfound faith, his language changed. Certain words disappeared from his vocabulary. That same day, the anger that had ruled many of his reactions in life changed to a peaceful way of dealing with challenges. The slower change was an insatiable need to know God’s word. He wanted to know if what the preacher taught was correct. Ron wanted to know what God said, not what a man thought. That meant this man who didn’t like to read began to study his Bible. He studied Hebrew and Greek, followed prophecy, and applied the example of Jesus to his life. Ron was born again, and it showed.

Everyone is different, but when you accept Jesus into your life, there should be a change in your actions.

We are all human and have a fallen nature. Every evil, pain, sorrow, and failure is caused by Satan. He lied to Eve and confused her. Ever since Adam chose to follow her in sin, the entire world has suffered under the curse of the Fall. Instead of desiring to be more like Jesus, our human nature fills us with pride and arrogance, then we give in to the lust of this life. Paul warned the Christians in Galatia about the things that aren’t of God.

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would (Galatians 5:17).

Have you ever felt as if the joy of the Lord has escaped you? Maybe you need to take a look at your way of life and the choices you make. If you live opposed to Christ, how can you ever find joy? You can’t. You’ll always be pulled between what you know is the right way to live and the lust of sin. This makes you a very unhappy person. If you don’t follow Christ, you follow the lies of Satan. Instead of the love of the Lord being nurtured in you and the fruit of the Spirit showing in your life, the rotten fruit hurled at you by Satan and his minions poisons your attitude and steals your joy.

What are the ways of the world? Simply put, it’s anything that isn’t encouraged by Scripture. If Jesus is our example, we won’t follow the way of the world. Paul gave a list of some of the works of the flesh.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

Paul also spoke on this same topic to the Ephesian Christians. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Ephesians 5:3-5).

King James is sometimes hard to understand, but it’s very easy to find the definitions of words in today’s terms. Modern translations help, or a dictionary will give definitions. It’s a good idea to look up the words in a concordance and find the word in the original language and its original meaning. When you follow the ways of the world, the war within you will manifest in anger and pride. Sin separates us from God. Big sins and little sins are all the same… they’re all sin.

We all sin and fall short of God’s expectations, but if we claim to have placed our faith in Christ, our desire should be to move away from sin. Jesus gave His life so that we can be forgiven of all sin. If you’ve accepted His sacrifice, then you owe Him your life. You have become a new creation, and the old ways you followed should hold no joy for you. If you’re still embracing sin, then there’s no way you can have joy. You cannot serve two masters.

Next time you’re tempted to join in a lust of the flesh, try thanking God for what He’s done for you. If that doesn’t turn you away from sinning to nurturing the fruit that comes from the Holy Spirit, then perhaps you should take a strong look at your life. Ask yourself if you have truly repented (changed your mind about sin) and asked Jesus to forgive you. Then concentrate on the things of the Spirit and turn away from the works of the flesh.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

Remember, Jesus gave His life so you could live with Him eternally. If you prefer wallowing in the works of the flesh today, do you think you’ll be happy living with the fruit of the Spirit eternally? You should get familiar with the fruit now and nurture it in your life.

It isn’t too late to allow the Holy Spirit to rule your heart, mind, and soul. Humble yourself before the Lord and pray for forgiveness. Then, let the light of the Spirit brighten your way.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.

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