22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Have you ever noticed, no matter how many times we are told it is God's work in us, we still try to make it happen on our own? There is something in us that continually tries to gain control. There is something about our faith that waivers when we have to rely on God's Spirit to produce fruit in us.
24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. The truth is our job is to crucify our sinful nature with its passions and desires and live by the Spirit. We are not meant to produce the fruit, but instead, keep in step with the one who does.
In The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer discusses the definition of "fruit" versus "works of the flesh." Here is a great excerpt from that discussion:
There are many works of the flesh, but only one fruit of the Spirit. Works are done by human hands, fruit thrusts upward and grows all unbeknown to the tree which bears it. Works are dead, fruit is alive, and bears the seed which which will bring forth more fruit. Works can subsist on their own, fruit cannot exist apart from the tree. Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
But this definition of fruit must also change our measurements. We are not out to compare, copy, or demean each other in regards to our fruitful living. The fruit is not our doing. It was not meant to be the focus. "There is no room for boasting here, but only for an ever more intimate union with Him."
May we all keep in step with the Spirit of God as he produces fruit in our lives.