By Gustav Krös (INcontext Director)

Whenever I read Galatians 5 verses 22 and 23, I would go through the list of the fruit of the Spirit and test myself concerning each of them. Starting with the first one, I would contemplate how I am fairing concerning the fruit of love. Am I truly loving my wife in the same way that Christ loves the Church (Ef 5:25)? Am I loving my children with the same love that I experience from God the Father? How am I fairing when it comes to loving my neighbour as myself (Lev 19:18)? Then of course there is the issue of loving one’s enemy (Luke 6:27).

I will move on to number two and contemplate joy. Am I truly joyful, always (1 Thess 5:16)? Do I still experience joy in my heart even when it feels like everything is going wrong in the day (James 1:2)? Is the reality of standing in relationship with Christ enough to give me joy no matter what my circumstances? When I am feeling weak, is the joy of the Lord truly my strength (Neh 8:10)?

In this manner, I will work my way through the list. The experiences I have had in my life before reading these verses will greatly determine how I rate myself. Maybe I had an incident shortly before reading it where I really struggled with patience, and the reading of these verses convicts me to really work on my patience, or maybe I had an incident where I feel I was really kind to a stranger, and I will feel that I’m making progress bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

It does not matter how well I rate myself, I have never scored myself full marks on any given occasion. Maybe I’m a little hard on myself, or maybe I’m actually a little lenient and have forgotten some of the occasions where I have failed to display these fruits of the Spirit when it was actually really necessary. No matter which it is, I do believe we should always strive for perfection in these matters, and that over time, it becomes our natural response in all circumstances. That is why it is called fruit after all. It should be a natural outflow because of where we are rooted.

So when I happened to read these verses again in mid-February I asked myself, what can I do to help myself turn these fruits into my natural fruit, which I bear automatically no matter what the circumstances? I started by counting how many there are and saw that there are 9, and then the thought came to me to focus intentionally on one of these fruits every month of the year. I also thought that this will be something that will benefit our team greatly if we do it together.

Thus, our theme in the office for the month of March is love, but not the world’s definition of love, but rather Christ’s definition of love, which is unconditional love. We will continue to focus on each of the 9 fruits of the Spirit on a monthly basis until we end in November with the fruit of self-control.

How much this will benefit us individually and as a team I don’t know yet, but I do believe that we will experience growth in this manner, and no matter how big or small that growth might be, it will bring glory to the name of Christ. If you feel led by the Holy Spirit to join us on this journey, then please feel free to let us know by sending us an email or message. It will be greatly encouraging to know if there are other people on this journey with us and to share in it together.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25


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www.incontextinternational.org; gustav@incontextministries.org