S212P2 – Bad fruit: misery

Gal. 5:19-23

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

For every good fruit of the Spirit there is the spiritual antithesis which works for evil.  Personally, I find the fruit of joy to be one of the most appealing in this world considering how fallen this system is.  There are those who find it very difficult to experience joy in this life because what they experience is mostly darkness and struggle.  After all, this is not a gentle place.  What the world produces and what sin produces is misery.  Everything produced by the Spirit is aimed at cutting through the fallen nature of this world, and joy exists to cut through the misery.  When judging a tree by its fruit to know whether it is good or bad, this can be a rather telling indicator.

If we want to do as Christ did and as the scriptures instruct, then we will deal with people in patience.  We will be long-suffering.  However, we also will come across those who make this a pretty tall order.  Even within the Church, we can find those who like to play devil’s advocate or push buttons for the sake of a reaction.  These are just some ways in which the bad fruit of misery can surface.  What I speak of is the intent of a person.  Those bearing good spiritual fruit will have a goal of bringing others joy.  They will want to do what the Spirit does and battle the dark misery of this world with joyful light instead of catering to it and adding to it.

We are not called to be a source of misery for others.  While some might not like us because we carry the Lord’s Spirit and speak the truth, that is not the issue here.  If we live in the Spirit, then we will experience the joy that the Spirit brings even in the midst of circumstances which are not joyful.  That is the fruit of the Spirit enjoying victory over the fruit of the flesh.  We really need to ask ourselves whether others view us as a source of joy or a source of misery.  Whether others enjoy us is not the question.  It is a matter of whether our goal is to bring the joy we have in the Spirit to others.  Father, forgive us for the times we have left others with the fruit of misery instead of the fruit of joy.