We always read about the fruit of the spirit. At my home congregation we hosted a VBS which was on the fruit of the spirit this past summer, and we had a whole song about them (which was really helpful because now I have them memorized) which is great. I mean, it is very important to know the fruits of the spirit! What about the fruits of the flesh that are talked about right before that? Well, that is what I'm going to talk about today, and on Thursday in my next article.
First of all, I'm going to be talking about what the fruits of the flesh are. According to Galatians 5:19-21, they are "sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions [disputes], divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these." Okay, before I move on I want to explain what it means by "fits of anger" because a lot of people tend to believe that that makes anger a sin. No. Even Jesus got angry as we learn in Matthew 21. Also, in James 1:19 it says, "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;" Does this say not to get angry? No, it says slow to anger. Just like we should be slow to speak. If getting angry was a sin then so would speaking. Also, Psalms 4:4 talks about getting angry and not sinning. We need to be careful about that.
Okay, so now that we know what the fruits of the flesh are, what does "fruit of the flesh" even mean. Well, when the Bible talks about fruit, unless I'm forgetting something, it's always talking about results. Like, say you planted a strawberry seed. What would the result of that be? Strawberries! Which is the fruit. Also, if you remember, "flesh" is usually used to describe man's selfish ways. So the "fruits of the flesh" are the results of man's selfish ways. Now, I'm not going to get into this right now, but if you'll notice, envy, rivalries, dissensions, drunkenness, all that is in the same category as idolatry, sexual immorality, impurity, and sensuality.
As I read about the fruits of the flesh, and as I read about the fruits of the spirit, I see one thing. The thing that I see is that God's way will always lead to good, holy things, while the work of the flesh will always lead to sin and strife, and hard times. God set up these laws for us to protect us from these things. Now, I'm not saying that we won't have problems, but if everyone treated others with kindness, wouldn't everything be so much easier? About 90% of the world's problems would be gone. Now, how can we properly love someone and treat them if we are jealous of them? How can we truly say that we love someone if we hold grudges against them, or have strife with them, or completely ignore them and avoid them at all costs? That's not love. Wouldn't it be so much better if we didn't have to deal with these things? The fruit of the flesh is selfish, but the fruit of the spirit is always selfless.