By Beverly LaHaye
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23, NIV). It is impossible for a Christian to be filled with the Spirit and not evidence this filling in some manner. Examine this list, and you will find a quality sufficient to overcome every single weakness in your life. Nothing is more practical on a day-to-day basis than the control of our lives by God’s Holy Spirit.
The fruit of the Spirit expresses the being and character of God. When we demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit, we are reflecting His image to those around us. His love makes our hearts glad, and we begin to treat people around us as He would treat them. In addition, the fruit of the Spirit in us rebounds to bless the Lord Himself as we walk faithfully in humility-enjoying the ongoing relationship with Him that He desires.
When a natural human being is indwelt by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, that person will become different. He or she does not get better looking or smarter or more talented. The difference will be evident in that person’s emotions. The Holy Spirit provides us with emotional control that enables us to have control over our out-of-control tendencies.
By contrast, when you see a Christian out of emotional control, you know that person is not walking in the Spirit. We all know what that feels like. Often God uses us to help each other get back on track.
Just recently, I had an experience like that. A Christian lady who has a very strong, dominant temperament was becoming very aggressive and was barking out orders. Her orders were in direct conflict with what seemed the obvious way to go. I’m afraid I grieved the Holy Spirit by my retort to her, and immediately I felt guilty. I’ll admit I was very tired, but that is a lame excuse for my actions. My true desire is to please God and to be commended for living by faith, which was also Enoch’s desire as we can see in Hebrews 11:5. I quickly confessed my lack of patience to God, and He gave me the wisdom to know how to handle this situation through the control of the Holy Spirit.
In an earnest effort to behave in a godly way, people may attempt to display the fruit of the Spirit, behaving, for instance with extra-sweet gentleness or enthusiastic joy. But without the Holy Spirit, all such virtuous behavior is mere imitation. The fruit of the Spirit is what a person is, not what he or she does. Juicy apples characterize a healthy apple tree. The apples mature naturally on the boughs, and the fruit is renewed season after season. The apples are not some kind of realistic, plastic fruit. In the same way, the true fruit of the Spirit characterizes a truly Spirit-filled Christian who is being renewed season after season.
When your children, who are still immature, are out of emotional control, you as their Spirit-filled parents can capably guide them into increased maturity. How would your children react if you were able, even when upset, to return quickly to being a stable, strong and loving father or mother? What a testimony to your children this would be!
If both parents carry out their daily duties with a cheerful attitude and rejoicing in all circumstances, they set an example for the children to do the same. The Holy Spirit is invited into the home. The family members seek His help, together and individually. Whenever someone falters, the Spirit helps in whatever way is best. He informs their consciences when they have sinned, and He provides wisdom to do the will of God.
The Spirit-controlled family is altogether real, doing everything from car repair to vacations to diaper duty out of their God-given and God-redeemed personalities and gifts. Everyone knows that the rubber meets the road in our homes. You can’t fake being a Holy Spirit-empowered family. The first bump in the road will blow a tire!
Ask God to make the fruit of the Spirit real in your life. He will do it!

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