Religious Nut or Passion Fruit?

After His Passion (1) Jesus was raised from the dead (1) by His Father, our God, to become the “first fruits” of all Christians that will be raised from the dead in the future (1 Corinthians 15:20. Romans 6:4). That is, those that have by faith accepted the gift of salvation (1) through Jesus Christ and then die go to live in spiritual bodies in a spiritual place called Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8. John 14:1-3). Then, in the future, those humans that live in Heaven will be brought back to Earth to be reintegrated with their resurrected former “soul-focused” physical bodies that have been transformed (1) (1 Corinthians 15:51-54). Also, those that have accepted the gift of salvation and are still alive on Earth at this time will receive their transformed bodies then, too ( 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

That is, physical bodies transformed from being predominately concerned with self, with input from the five senses and subject to sickness, aging, and death, to a spiritual or rather “spirit focused” physical body that is impervious, powerful, immortal, and predominately concerned with God (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). Realize, our present physical bodies are made of flesh and blood with life in the blood (1 Corinthians 15:47-49. Leviticus 17:11). However, our future physical bodies will be made of flesh and bone – without blood (1 Corinthians 15:50). That is, our future bodies will be like the resurrected body of our Lord Jesus (Luke 24:39. 1 John 1:1. Philippians 3:20,21). With this body, Jesus was able to change from matter to energy (and vice-a-versa, E=mc^2) at will to walk on water, rapidly travel vast distances or walk through walls (Matthew 14:25-33. Luke 24:36-38. John 20:17). This transformation of our bodies will complete the process of what the Bible calls glorification (Romans 8:29,30). Thankfully, in the “Sweet By-and-By” (2) we will have these wonderful new bodies not affected by sin and its effects.

However, what about the “rotten here and now”? Does your personal faith just result in having a different set of rules than the world? Rules that you keep with such zeal that the world thinks of you as a “religious nut”?

What the world needs to see is the character of God in our lives not simply more rules (John 13:35). However, this character only develops in a Christian that has a “passion (for the) fruit” of the Holy Spirit and in the context of a relationship with God the Father via Jesus Christ His Son. This fruit of our re-born spirits by the Holy Spirit transforms our character to that of Jesus Christ! That is, it causes us to be Christ-like in all that we say, do, think, and believe.

To grow the fruit of our spirit by the Holy Spirit, we must spend time fellowshipping (1) with God in the dialog of prayer, in His Word the Bible, and in His service to others, etc. Jesus used the analogy that He is the vine and we believers are the branches (John 15:4,5). Meaning that we will not have fruitful lives unless we continuously fellowship with Him (Psalm 92:13,14). Note that fruit grows on a vine not by struggling but rather by remaining attached to the vine.

Realize, Grapes are non-climacteric meaning they do not further ripen once removed from the vine. That is, you cannot pick grapes early like an apple, tomato, or banana and let them ripen over time. Consequently, apart from the vine, there will be no good fruit!

I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me – and I in him– bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing. (John 15:5 NET)

That is, we do not grow this spiritual fruit in our ability but rather in His ability. However, we must expend much effort in struggling against the very real temptations of the world and stay connected to the vine (i.e., have a consistent and intimate relationship with God the Father through Jesus) to grow this fruit effortlessly.

I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit. (John 15:1-2 NET)

The first three fruits of our spirit by the Holy Spirit are love, joy, and peace (Galatians 5:22). Realize all nine of these fruits are products of our human spirit and not our soul. These three fruits are developed as we spend time in fellowship with God in the power of the Holy Spirit. These fruits are for our personal benefit. In addition, they enable us to discern whether thoughts are from God or not. Thoughts from God will always bring love, joy, and peace.

Love – The Greek word used here is agape. This is not a love of emotion (i.e., not the Greek word phileo (brotherly love), eros (erotic love), or storge (adoration love)) but rather an unconditional love (1) of God. This is the love that God is (1) and is grown in the heart of the yielded believer by the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:16. Romans 5:5). At its core is the earnest desire and willingness to self-sacrifice for the one loved (John 3:16. Romans 5:8).

Joy – This is not the same as happiness which is a product of the emotions but rather a spiritual quality that results in us being strong in the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10. John 15:11. John 16:24. 1 John 1:4. 1 Peter 1:7-9. 2 Corinthians 7:4. Romans 14:17. Luke 15:10. 1 Thessalonians 1:6).

Peace – Tranquility of mind – the one thing all the world wants but is doing all the wrong things to get. True restful peace is only found in God and living our lives the way He has said we should live them (Matthew 11:28-30. John 14:27. Romans 8:6. Philippians 4:6,7. Ephesians 2:14. Isaiah 48:18). Realize, being a “peacekeeper” by compromising with evil to avoid conflict yields a false peace (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). Being a “peacemaker” (1) by standing up for what is right – even though inconvenient – is the way to have true peace established in our lives and the world (Matthew 5:9).

The next three fruits of our spirit by the Holy Spirit are patience, gentleness, and goodness (Galatians 5:22). These fruits are developed as we spend time serving and ministering to others in the power of the Holy Spirit. These fruits benefit others in our relationships with them.

Patience – Steadfastness, forbearance, endurance, and longsuffering especially under ill-treatment without resulting in ungodly anger or revenge (James 1:3. 1 Peter 2:20. 1 Peter 3:17. 1 Peter 4:19).

Kindness – Kindness that pervades and penetrates the whole nature mellowing in it all that is harsh (2 Corinthians 10:1. Galatians 6:1).

Goodness – The quality of a man that is ruled by and desires what is morally good (Ephesians 5:9. 2 Thessalonians 1:11, Romans 15:14. Romans 2:4)

The last three fruits of the spirit by the Holy Spirit are faith, meekness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23). This is an area that needs to be focused on more by all Christians. We have seen several ministers that have the first six fruits of the Spirit in their lives, but then because of a lack of self-control, they fall into the trap of sin (Proverbs 7:24-27). These fruits are developed as we live out the process of sanctification (Philippians 2:12). That is, we discipline ourselves to fulfill our God-given destiny in the power of the Holy Spirit. These fruits benefit our relationship with God.

Faithfulness – With developed faith (1) a Christian learns to live independently of circumstances thus yielding a lifestyle of faithfulness to God (2 Corinthians 5:7. Hebrews 11:1. Philippians 4:11,12).

Gentleness – Meekness is not weakness (1) but rather disciplined strength (Matthew 5:5). It brings a quality of mildness, gentleness, and humility to our lives (Ephesians 4:2). This is diametrically opposed to the view of the world that an ambitious, arrogant, and boastful person would make for the best leader.

Self Control –  Yes, the answer to issues of gratification delay! Having mastery over your mind, emotions and the desires or impulses of your body via a strong God-aligned will (1 Corinthians 9:25. 1 Corinthians 7:9). Realize, self-control (1) grows stronger every time you say no to evil and yes to good and vice-a-versa. That is, whatever you give attention to will grow to control your life for good or bad (2 Peter 1:5,6).

Lastly, there is no law or rule against the fruit of the spirit including the law of diminishing returns (Galatians 5:23). That is, you cannot have too much of the fruit of the Spirit in your life! Also, the fruit of the Spirit grows in our lives similar to fruit on trees in nature in that the first season after planting you will likely not see fruit. During that time the roots are growing into the soil so that the foundation of the tree will be ready to nourish and support the fruit when it arrives. Furthermore, in the first season that fruit appears it will likely be a small quantity; however, each season that the tree stays planted and nourished by the soil, exposed to the sun, and watered by the rain it will yield increasing amounts of fruit season after season in an exponential manner (Mark 4:8).

Sadly, some do not realize that the growth of spiritual fruit is a function of obedience to God and His Word over time (1) and that it grows exponentially. Consequently, they are constantly uprooting themselves from what or where God has called them in the hope of finding better fruit-producing conditions. However, instead of enhancing fruit production, they are actually retarding growth by having to continually put down new roots thus re-starting the exponential process over and over again (Psalms 92:13,14. Psalms 1:1-3.  Jeremiah 17:7,8. John 15:8).

Exponential Growth Curve

Discipleship for Maturing Christians

(Security, Wholeness, Success)

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)

(1) Select the link to open another article with additional information in a new tab.

(2) Christian hymn with lyrics by S. Fillmore Bennett and music by Joseph P. Webster.

Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.  DOULOS HAL'S TOPICAL INDEX