In these end times as we await the coming of our saviour and master Jesus Christ, it is important to look at the gifts of the Spirit vis-a-vis the fruit of the Spirit.
The book of Galatians, gives a lucid explanation of the fruit of the Spirit when compared with the works of the flesh.
Galatians 5:19-26 KJV
The fruit of the Spirit is so very important that it is the basis of the Christian character.
No Christian can make heaven without developing a strong Christlike character. St. Paul in his letter to the Galatian Christians talked about Christ being formed in them.
Galatians 4:19 KJV My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
The Bible says that it is Christ in us that is the hope of our glory. (Colossians 1:27b).
The actual formation of Christ in us is made manifest in fruit bearing, hence the scripture says ” by their fruits, you shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20). This is the visa for our entry into heaven.
I remember the song which we used to sing when we first knew the Lord. The lyrics goes thus:
On the last day, On the last day, only true believers shall be raptured. The emphasis was that among the believers were those who were true ( fruit bearing ) and those who were fake.
No wonder St. Paul talked about false brethren in 2 Corinthians 11:26.
The challenge before every believer therefore is to ensure we pursue godliness and righteousness which are all embodied in the fruit of the Spirit.
Now coming to the gifts of the Spirit, as we shall shortly be examining in context with the fruit of the Spirit, you will observe that the bible says that ” the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (1 Cor. 12:7).
The gifts of the Spirit manifest in our lives as the Lord wills, mainly as we give ourselves to His work. (Hebrews 2:4). This is why they are gifts and therefore not necessarily an index of spiritual maturity. The Corinthian church was a very carnal church yet they were mighty in manifesting the gifts of the Spirit. When they came together for holy communion, they would be struggling for the bread and the wine. It was in the same church that a man slept with his father’s wife and was excommunicated. From the foregoing therefore you can see that the gifts of the Spirit does not really correlate with spiritual maturity. In fact, we are told in 1 Cor. 13, that though we show forth all the gifts of the Spirit and we have not charity (fruit of the Spirit), we are nothing. Please take out time to read 1 Cor. 13 for a greater insight.
Some people have wondered why it is so that some men of God manifest the gifts of the Spirit in very significant proportions yet their lives leave much to be desired in the area of the fruit of the Spirit and Christian character.
The reason is that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29)
In other words, when God has been gracious enough to an individual to give him a gift, he hardly withdraws it even when the individual is not living up to expectation.
Having compared and contrasted both the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit, the question now that needs to be answered is where do I lay emphasis between the two.
1 Corinthians 12:31 KJV
In conclusion, while we should desire the best spiritual gifts, the more excellent way of love , which is a summary of the fruit of the Spirit as enunciated in 1 Cor. 13 should be pursued so that we can make heaven at last.
May God help us.
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