Manifest “the Fruitage of the Spirit”
12. Why is manifesting the fruitage of the spirit important in our quest for spiritual advancement?
12 While attaining “the oneness in the faith and in the accurate knowledge” is important, it is equally important for us to manifest the fruitage of God’s spirit in every aspect of our life. Why? This is because maturity, as we have seen, is not internal or hidden, but it is marked by clearly discernible characteristics that can benefit and build up others. Of course, our quest for spiritual advancement is not merely an effort to look cultivated or to put on airs. Rather, as we grow spiritually, following the leading of God’s spirit, there will be a wonderful transformation in our attitudes and actions. “Keep walking by spirit and you will carry out no fleshly desire at all,” said the apostle Paul.—Galatians 5:16.
13. What change is a clear indication of advancement?
13 Paul went on to list “the works of the flesh,” which are numerous and “manifest.” Before a person comes to appreciate God’s requirements, his life is patterned after the ways of the world and may be filled with some of the things Paul mentioned: “fornication, uncleanness, loose conduct, idolatry, practice of spiritism, enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies, drunken bouts, revelries, and things like these.” (Galatians 5:19-21) But as the person makes spiritual progress, he gradually gains the mastery over these undesirable “works of the flesh” and makes room for “the fruitage of the spirit.” This outwardly visible change is a clear indication that the person is advancing toward Christian maturity.—Galatians 5:22.
14. Explain the two expressions “the works of the flesh” and “the fruitage of the spirit.”
14 We should note the two expressions “the works of the flesh” and “the fruitage of the spirit.” “Works” are the results of what one does, the product of one’s actions. In other words, the items that Paul listed as the works of the flesh are the results either of one’s conscious effort or of the influence of the fallen human flesh. (Romans 1:24, 28; 7:21-25) On the other hand, the expression “the fruitage of the spirit” implies that the qualities listed are, not the results of efforts in so-called character development or personality enhancement, but the results of the operation of God’s spirit on a person. Just as a tree will bear fruit when it is properly tended, so a person will manifest the fruitage of the spirit when holy spirit flows freely in his life.—Psalm 1:1-3.
15. Why is it important to give attention to all aspects of “the fruitage of the spirit”?
15 Another point to consider is Paul’s use of the word “fruitage” to encompass all the desirable qualities that he mentioned.* The spirit does not produce a variety of fruits for us to pick our favorite. All the qualities listed by Paul—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self-control—are equally important, and together they make possible the new Christian personality. (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10) Therefore, while we may find that certain ones of these qualities are more evident in our life on account of our own personality and inclinations, it is important that we give attention to all the aspects mentioned by Paul. By so doing, we can more fully reflect a Christlike personality in our life.—1 Peter 2:12, 21.
16. What is our objective in our pursuit of Christian maturity, and how can it be achieved?
16 The important lesson we can learn from Paul’s discussion is that in the pursuit of Christian maturity, our objective is neither to acquire great knowledge and learning nor to cultivate refined personality traits. It is to gain a free flow of God’s spirit in our life. To the extent that our thinking and actions are responsive to the leading of God’s spirit, to that extent we become spiritually mature. How can we achieve this objective? We must open our heart and mind to the influence of God’s spirit. This involves our faithfully attending and participating in Christian meetings. We should also regularly study and meditate on God’s Word, allowing its principles to guide our dealings with others and the choices and decisions we make. Certainly, then, our advancement will be clearly manifest.
The word “fruitage” is simply “fruit” in the original language.—Galatians 5:22, Kingdom Interlinear Translation.