I have always thought of the fruit of the Spirit as byproducts of a life lived in concert with God’s will. A healthy tree produces healthy fruit, an unhealthy tree produces bitter or shriveled fruit, or none at all. A dead tree is dead and a dying one is in the process of approaching death rather than growing and maturing into fullness of life.
Too many believers accept anything they hear from the pulpit, see on YouTube, or read in the latest popular book. Abandoning our responsibility to test and prove what we are taught is risky business, leaving us open to being influenced incorrectly, or adopting false teaching and doctrine.
2019 is the first year of my life that I’ve managed to read the entire Bible through in one year. I made this a goal at the start of the year and managed to complete the reading in early December, even though there were several periods where I did not read for days (illness, travel, the occasional too busy day, etc.).
Jesus’ disciples, His most intimate relationships and those closest to him, did not understand. In this they are like us.
To whom have you told [new] words? Whose breath has gone out from you? Will the dead spirits, who are underneath the water, be stirred, or those who dwell there? (Job 26:4,5 Artscroll Stone Edition Tanach)
Here Job retorts to Bilad (after his third speech in which he belittles Job) by asking him whose breath he speaks with. Certainly, it cannot be God’s, for neither the living nor the dead are stirred by Bilad’s wisdom. In essence, Job is telling Bilad that he is unqualified to judge because he lacks the wisdom and yieldedness to do so. He speaks from the heart of man, not as from God.
The lesson for us today is the same as in ancient times. Man’s wisdom is folly in God’s eyes and lacks the authority needed to change what is wrong with our condition. The power is in God’s breath, not our own. What He says sets creation in motion, what we say is carried away by the winds. The difference is in the spirit that blows the breath, ours or God’s.