o you know that the fruit of the Spirit is both formational and relational? That the character traits are cultivated not only by being devoted to God but by our earnest desire and sincere effort to be like Christ? That some of the traits have a definite focus on other people? As the Spirit changes our hearts, it will also change our lives, which necessarily involve other people. Thus loving others is not just loving the one you love but also loving those you donít love.
Joy is most accurately described as joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:7) and peace as the peace Christ gives us (John 14:27). These character traits can only be cultivated when we live them out in our daily lives as transformed people who love to serve others.
The person who is becoming God-like and God-centered exhibits the character traits of the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23, namely love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Since God loves us including our faults and weaknesses, He is also teaching us to love others as He loves, to forgive as He forgives.
However, we cannot show the fruit in us if we are not plugged into the source of the fruit Ė the Holy Spirit. It then becomes clear that the fruit of the Spirit is the result of His work within us. We are invited to wear the garments of grace as we strive to become more like Christ.
This book may challenge our ideas about God and ourselves but the challenges help bring things into perspective for you. Examples: God is sovereign in everything yet we are responsible for what we do. Godís eternal plan is for us to join him yet our actions and thoughts do not often synchronize with his eternal plan.
This book is more of an instructional guide. It encourages us to pray, read the Bible, ponder worship, study on your own, and seek out the help of the Holy Spirit to find the path that God wants for you.
Each chapter contains information that will enable you to apply these teachings in your life to become more of what God intended us to be and ends with discussion questions and scriptural passages for further study and meditation.
The author wrote the classic ďThe Practice of GodlinessĒ in 1983 in which he presented much of the content of this new book. He felt a need to revisit the fruit of the Spirit and tell us more about His character traits. Isnít it about time for us to revisit the fruit of the Spirit too? Highly recommended.óReviewed by Daisy J. Serrano, Library member & volunteer