Showing Fruitage of the Spirit
1. (a) Name the works of the flesh. (b) With a world full of such works, can a Christian avoid them? How?
The spirit of this world produces the “works of the flesh.” They are very manifest. Paul says they are “fornication, uncleanness, loose conduct, idolatry, practice of spiritism, hatreds, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies, drunken bouts, revelries, and things like these.” “As to these things I am forewarning you, the same way as I did forewarn you, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s kingdom.” (Gal. 5:19-21) These are some of the things, then, one must be sure to get rid of if he wants everlasting life. Paul’s description surely fits this world today just as it did the ancient Roman world he lived in. But can a Christian live today in a world like this and change? Yes, even though surrounded by people doing “the works of the flesh.” The Christian can produce the fruitage of the spirit. Certainly Paul and all the other inspired writers would not tell us to do so if it could not be done through Jehovah’s spirit.
2. What is the first love needed to produce the fruitage of the spirit? The second?
2 In order to produce the “fruitage of the spirit” the Christian must first of all love Jehovah God, which would mean following the great commandment that Jesus quoted, namely: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.” Jesus added: “The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matt. 22:37, 39) That means loving a lot; but it means your life too.
3. To the apostle Paul what did love mean, and did he personally show he had this quality?
3 In Galatians 5:22 love is described by Paul as the first fruit that must be manifest on the part of a Christian. This great lover of God and of his Son, Jesus Christ, fought for Christianity with the “sword of the spirit.” He defined it as God’s Word. (Eph. 6:17) Paul did not hate men; he loved men. He wanted men to know the truth. Paul, being a man full of love, had a lot to say about it, but he found it was rather difficult to give a concise description of love. In the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians he tells us that even ‘though he spoke with the tongues of men and of angels, if he did not have love, he would sound like a piece of brass or a clashing cymbal. Even if he had the gift of prophesying and understood all the sacred secrets of God and had the greatest faith of any man in the world, sufficient to transplant mountains, but did not have love, he would amount to nothing.’ What a traveler and worker Paul was! What energy he spent in the service! He did not spare his life. He poured it out in preaching the good news. To a Greek Paul was a Greek, to a Jew a Jew. Yet, if he did not have love, love for Jehovah God, his Son, and his Christian brothers, Paul said: “I am nothing.” Love, he said, is obliging. Paul did things for people, not wanting or expecting a return. When observing the success of a brother he was not jealous of such an individual, because love is not jealous.
4, 5. (a) What is a Christian’s first interest? (b) Thus what course in life does he follow?
4 A Christian must be interested in just one thing, and that is the true worship of Jehovah. In performing that worship the Christian does not brag about what he has done. Love never gets puffed up because of accomplishments; and certainly love never behaves indecently. Love is expressed in good conduct. A Christian showing love does not continue to live like the world, even though he is in it. Love makes him change his course of action so as to follow the right way.
5 Producing this first fruit of the spirit, love, the Christian will not always be looking after his own interests, always being first and superior. He will not be provoked at every little thing that someone else does, because love does not become provoked. And when someone does something against the Christian, or even goes so far as to injure him, he, having this fruit of the spirit, love, will not even keep account of the injury. When something happens to a Christian that is not right or just, love is not going to rejoice over unrighteousness. There is only one thing that love can rejoice in, and that is the truth.
6. How does God’s congregation of people know it belongs to Christ?
6 Love is an attribute that Jehovah God put in the perfect man, Adam. Why not reinstate it? Furthermore, “God is love,” and he is the one we worship. Love is a necessary quality for every Christian. He cannot get along without it. It is urgent that every Christian stop to think once in a while as to how much he loves other people. How much does he love his brothers? The measuring rod whereby one can determine whether he is a Christian or not is love. Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”—John 13:35.
7. (a) What is lacking if we are afraid to express ourselves? (b) Does that mean there is no hope for us?
7 Are you afraid to talk to people about your belief in the Bible? Do you claim to be a Christian, and still have fear in going from house to house, doing the same kind of work Jesus and his disciples did? Are you afraid to express yourself even to your own brothers in a congregation meeting? Do you say, “Yes, I am afraid”? Then you do not have perfect love, and you know there is room for improvement. John, who truly loved the Master, wrote this: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love throws fear outside, because fear exercises a restraint.” (1 John 4:18) Is there a restraint on you that holds you back from expressing your Christian belief? If that fear exists, then there is some branch cleaning to be done so that the bearing of more fruit will be possible. Jesus said: ‘Every branch bearing fruit he cleans, that it may bear more fruit’; and he also said: “Every branch in me not bearing fruit he takes away.” (John 15:2) Do you want to be built up by being pruned or be completely lopped off the vine as a nonproducer of the fruitage of the spirit?
8. Why is love the principal fruitage of the spirit?
8 “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Cor. 8:1) Christians must show love and build. Love is not just a word to be used promiscuously. It is a word full of expressive meaning. Love is alive, active. An individual who has this quality, love, will show it every day and in everything that he does. “In brotherly love have tender affection for one another. In showing honor to one another take the lead.” (Rom. 12:10) Love, while just one of the fruitages of the spirit, is the principal one. It is basic, fundamental, because all the other fruits of the spirit are different aspects of the expression of love. They all keep love in action. Therefore cultivate these qualities and show forth more love.
JOY AND PEACE
9. (a) Define joy. (b) Describe a Christian’s joy.
9 Joy is something a Christian must have, or get, because it is the second fruit of the spirit mentioned by Paul. What does it mean to have joy? Joy is “an emotion of keen or lively pleasure arising from present or expected good.” (The American College Dictionary) A Christian’s greatest joy comes because of preaching, from hearing good news and experiences of those who have done so. That is how it was with the early Christians. We read at Acts 15:3: “Accordingly, after being conducted part way by the congregation, these men continued on their way through both Phoenicia and Samaria, relating in detail the conversion of people of the nations, and they were causing great joy to all the brothers.” How was this “great joy” caused? By “relating in detail the conversion of the people of the nations.” They had talked to people about God’s kingdom. They had had wonderful experiences in field service to tell others. This brought great joy to the hearers and the tellers. Hearing about other people listening to the truth and then coming into the truth brings joy. Love made the disciples preach; joy was the result.—Acts 13:45-52; 2 Cor. 7:13.
10. (a) What is peace? (b) How does a Christian pursue it?
10 Peace is a fruitage of the spirit. One who is peaceful is “free from strife or commotion.” He is serene or tranquil. Peter admonished Christians to “seek peace and pursue it.” The way he told them to pursue this wonderful way of life was like this: “He that would love life and see good days, let him restrain his tongue from what is injurious and his lips from speaking deceitfully, but let him turn away from what is injurious and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Pet. 3:10, 11) For one to enjoy peace with his fellow man he has to watch his tongue. Words can cause a great amount of trouble, especially the injurious ones. Good words establish good relations. But when one starts speaking deceitfully and injuriously, peace soon flees. A peaceful individual, with a peaceful message can talk about Jesus Christ and the kingdom of the heavens and how God will bring “upon earth peace among men of good-will.” (Luke 2:14) A Christian will use his tongue to bless. Paul told the Corinthians: “Live peaceably, and the God of love and of peace will be with you.”—2 Cor. 13:11; Matt. 10:12-14.
11, 12. (a) How would you define long-suffering? (b) Outline the long-suffering of Jesus toward Saul, who became the apostle Paul. (c) What should be our attitude for long-suffering shown toward us?
11 “Long and patient endurance of injury or provocation” is what is termed long-suffering. This is a fruitage of the spirit. Some people’s long-suffering has reached its limit in about thirty seconds, others’ in one or two minutes; but some are able to suffer the injury or provocation for a long time. Remember Paul said that “love is long-suffering and obliging.” (1 Cor. 13:4) And he mentioned God’s long-suffering toward mankind when he wrote to the Romans: “Do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and long-suffering, because you do not know that the kindly quality of God is trying to lead you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4) Jesus certainly showed long-suffering toward Saul, who finally became converted and who said: “Nevertheless, the reason why I was shown mercy was that by means of me as the foremost case Christ Jesus might demonstrate all his long-suffering for a sample of those who are going to rest their faith on him for everlasting life.” (1 Tim. 1:16) Paul must have often reflected back to the days when he was a Pharisee persecuting the Christians, proud of his position and delighting in the ruination of the Christian organization. He was then a destroyer, not a builder. But ‘as he approached Damascus a light flashed around him’ and he heard a voice say: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” The facts show that Paul appreciated the long-suffering of Christ Jesus in that it allowed him to come to a knowledge of the truth.
12 All persons on earth today, and especially Christians, ought to show such gratitude to Jehovah God and Christ Jesus for their long-suffering in allowing them to live this long. Now they, too, can be long-suffering toward others when hearers do not agree with them. Doing so, they try to show them the way to everlasting life in God’s new world of righteousness. Show long-suffering toward your brothers too.—1 Thess. 5:14.
13. (a) Describe a kind person. (b) How did the Maltese people show this quality to Paul and those shipwrecked with him?
13 Kindness, the fifth fruitage of the spirit listed, is something that can be expressed in so many ways. When one is kind he shows a ‘good or benevolent disposition, is considerate and helpful.’ Kindness is not something we show only to those we like. We must be kind to people we do not even know. Paul received such kindness and he made mention of it, saying: “And when we made it to safety, then we recognized that the island was called Malta. And the foreign-speaking people showed us extraordinary human kindness, for they kindled a fire and received all of us helpfully because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.” (Acts 28:1, 2) These Maltese went out of their way to help the shipwrecked ones. They did not know these total strangers. They could have been invaders of the island. But these foreign-speaking people did not look at it that way. Here was an opportunity to show extraordinary human kindness.
14, 15. How is the kindness of Jehovah’s witnesses shown toward people?
14 Every Christian has that opportunity, sometimes in more ways than one. Jehovah’s witnesses try to show extraordinary human kindness by taking the message of life directly to the people in their homes, making back-calls on interested ones and conducting Bible studies, and this at great expense to themselves and with the use of much time. They ask nothing in return. Many people do not appreciate this kindness shown on the part of Jehovah’s witnesses. But still the kindness must continue, as this is the will of God. The Scriptures declare that all mankind must know that Jesus bought the whole human race by laying down his life. By so doing he has offered all men the gift of everlasting life, though not all will accept it. That will be each individual’s responsibility.
15 If a Christian is going to have this fruitage of the spirit, kindness, then it will have to be manifested in his daily activity toward all people, not just a selected few.
16, 17. (a) Give the definition of goodness, and with what qualities is it contrasted? (b) How necessary is this quality in a Christian’s life?
16 Goodness is something to be admired. It means “moral excellence, virtue.” In order for Paul to emphasize goodness he makes it stand out by contrast. He says: “Let fornication and uncleanness of every kind or greediness not even be mentioned among you, . . . neither shameful conduct nor foolish talking nor obscene jesting. . . . For you know this, recognizing it for yourselves, that no fornicator or unclean person or greedy person—which means being an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and of God.” (Eph. 5:3-5) Paul then advises Christians that they must be separate from this type of people. There is no room in the lives of Christians to be associated with them. He says: “Therefore do not become partners with them; for you were once darkness, but you are now light in connection with the Lord. Go on walking as children of light, for the fruitage of the light consists of every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Eph. 5:7-9) Right, decent, respectable living, that is goodness. Even in this evil, degenerate world it is a necessary fruitage of the spirit, says Paul.
17 Goodness is a quality that must be guarded, and certainly it must be the goal of one who is dedicating his life to Jehovah’s service. Before anyone can be called a Christian he must put away shameful conduct. If we are going to produce within ourselves the fruits of the spirit and qualify ourselves for living in God’s new world, then we certainly must have this fruitage of the spirit, goodness.
18. What are Paul’s words in defining faith, and how necessary does he show faith to be for a person?
18 “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” (Heb. 11:1) That is the way Paul defined faith. A Christian cannot be without faith, because “without faith it is impossible to win his good pleasure, for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Heb. 11:6) The disciple James showed his faith, and he pointed out that faith must be backed up with works. (Jas. 2:26) If one believes in Jehovah God, Christ Jesus and his kingdom, then he will prove his belief by what he says, by what he does, by the way he lives.
19. (a) What is closely allied with faith? (b) Who are examples of faith and works in action?
19 A man’s faith can die, or become weak. Many individuals who at one time believed in Jesus Christ as the Redeemer and Savior of mankind have fallen away. They have turned to evolution. They reject the Bible. And still, such people call themselves Christians and go to Christendom’s churches. James would say to them: “Thus, too, faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself.” (Jas. 2:17) Faith is expressive. It makes proclamation. Paul said: “For with the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation.” (Rom. 10:10) One’s faith becomes stronger when he uses his heart, mind and mouth in making a public declaration of his belief in God’s kingdom as man’s only hope. Jesus said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) This is being done today not only by a remnant of the “little flock” who have faith and whom Jesus began gathering nineteen hundred years ago, but also by a “great crowd” of people from all nations who have the same kind of faith. Because of this faith on the part of the many Christian people great works have been done in these very troublesome days.
20. (a) How did Jesus show that mildness is not weakness? (b) What were Paul’s words in this connection?
20 Mildness is sometimes misunderstood for weakness. When one reads the life of Christ as told by the writers of the four Gospels he sees Jesus as a mild-tempered man. But be sure to read the 23rd chapter of Matthew and see Jesus as a forceful denouncer of wickedness. He was fearless. He had perfect love, and such love throws fear outside. With those who wanted to learn he was amiably gentle, tempered in his feelings and behavior toward all. Because of his mildness Jesus was able to teach people. He told them: “Become my disciples, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls.” (Matt. 11:29) They put confidence in him. They did not become afraid when Jesus spoke plain truth, because he did it in love. They were ready to listen. Paul knew the value of mildness and said to Timothy: “A slave of the Lord does not need to fight.” Fighting is not the way to help one gain the truth. Paul went on to say: The Lord’s slave “needs to be tactful toward all, qualified to teach, keeping himself restrained under evil, instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed.” (2 Tim. 2:24, 25) The Word of God properly stated is what makes a person repent, not force.
21. (a) Has the history of the Catholic church shown it to be a mild-tempered organization, and why do you so answer? (b) How is true Christianity different in this respect?
21 What a different course the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, which still wields great power in the world today, took during the years of the Inquisition. That false religious body can never live down its history of torture, putting men and women on the rack, tearing their limbs out of their bodies, hanging persons by their thumbs. These inquisitors professing to be Christians—yes, priests, who arranged for Jews, Moors and “heretics” to suffer excruciating pain—certainly did not have a mild spirit. These religious leaders fought to drive people into the Roman Catholic Church. What have they accomplished by their wars and tortures? A world of peace and unity? No! False religion has been driving people away from God with its wars and crusades. Christianity will never be brought about by the use of carnal weapons. If anyone accepts the truth it will be because the minister is mild and patient toward those not favorably disposed toward the Bible message. Jesus used that method, and so did the apostles. True Christians today must use the same method. Mildness is a fruitage of God’s holy spirit, and its use brings lasting results in declaring God’s kingdom.
22. (a) To what extent does self-control govern a Christian’s life? (b) With what kind of people are those lacking self-control classified?
22 Self-control is hard for imperfect men to practice. Why make excuses? Try to exercise it. It is one of the fruits of the spirit. So it must be attainable. To have self-control means to be able to control oneself, one’s actions, words, eating and drinking habits, yes, one’s feelings. In Paul’s eyes one not able to have some self-control gets classified with a rather despicable crowd of people. Those having no self-control he classes with very disreputable individuals who the Bible says would be prevalent in the last days. In writing to Timothy he said: “But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, without gratitude, with no loving-kindness, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness.” (2 Tim. 3:1-3) Why be classed with such delinquents because of lack of self-control? Solomon wrote: “All his spirit is what a stupid one lets out, but he that is wise keeps it calm to the last.” (Prov. 29:11) If a Christian has no self-control, or loses what he has, how easy for him to slip back to the ways of the flesh and be disqualified so as not to inherit the blessings of God’s kingdom! How foolish, then, not to strive to produce this fruitage too, namely, self-control! One shows love if he has self-control.
23. To build ourselves up and to remain in God’s building work what must we do?
23 All these fruitages of the spirit Paul contrasts with the works of the flesh. A change must take place when a believer dedicates himself to do the will of God. No longer can he act as the world does, but “those who belong to Christ Jesus impale the flesh together with its passions and its desires.” (Gal. 5:24) There must be a change, a building up of the individual. “If we are living by spirit, let us go on walking orderly also by spirit. Let us not become egotistical, stirring up competition with one another, envying one another.” (Gal. 5:25, 26) Bringing forth the fruitage of the spirit qualifies one to be in Jehovah’s New World society. So ‘paying constant attention to yourself and to your teaching’ does something for you. You will save both yourself and those who listen to you.” (1 Tim. 4:16) Build yourself up by paying attention to your fruitage of the spirit, and at the same time help in making Jehovah’s New World society grow. Christians must be at unity with one another, showing oneness “like a flock in the pen, like a drove in the midst of its pasture.” Feed with Jehovah’s sheep and keep at unity, for “in the house of the righteous one there is an abundant store, but in the produce of the wicked one there is troublesomeness.”—Prov. 15:6.