Is it the fruit of the Spirit or a counterfeit?
Do you enjoy the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Can you spot the counterfeit fruit of the Spirit? When Christ’s love takes root in our lives, we experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. But too often we try to produce our own versions of His fruit.
In Galatians 5:22–25 God assures us, the Holy Spirit produces His fruit in our lives if we “follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives” (NLT). The fruit of the Spirit encompasses the distinctiveness of God. No human plantation can create a vineyard such as His. God is the divine husbandman. He plants the vine and prunes it precisely to produce the fruit He wants. This fruit completes His portrait so the watching world can see a glimpse of Christ through our lives.
In Desperate Dependency and the blog posts listed below, we assess the fruit God wishes to produce through His Spirit. But in our desire for independence, we attempt to counterfeit the Spirit’s fruit with our own design. Desiring all He has for us but not willing to give all we are to Him, we endeavor to circumvent His plan by producing our fruit. Our miserable efforts culminate in disastrous results: emptiness, futility, turmoil, and frustration, to name a few. Obtaining an education as a fruit inspector will prepare us to distinguish between the authentic fruit of the Spirit and the counterfeit fruit of the flesh.
I can produce spiritual fruit!
Erroneously we believe we must contrive the fruit of the Spirit by force of our human will. When we are told we must exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, we diligently work to manufacture the formula for accomplishing that task. When we recognize that we cannot produce His fruit through our own ability, we realize it is only as we experience Christ as relevant that His fruit comes alive within us with transforming power.
It is by the process of divine intervention as we submit to His Spirit that we are enabled to be more than we are. At our best, we cannot be more than what we are apart from Him. Only as we depend on the Holy Spirit can we experience the fruit He has to offer. Therefore, all of our life endeavors should be fostering our connection to Him as we conform to His image.
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,Jeremiah 17:9–10 NLT
and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?
But I, the LORD, search all hearts
and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
according to what their actions deserve.
Continuing with My Innovative Solutions
Mama paid a friendly visit to her hairstylist, and little Johnny Kirk discovered an inspiring plastic astronaut buried in the sand outside under an oak tree. Knowing the evil desires of my heart, Mama admonished me to not take the astronaut from its space. But from my point of view, the astronaut had a mission to complete: he must explore the deep recesses of my pocket. When confronted by my mother, I continued with my innovative solutions and lied to cover my expedition. I saw the astronaut as the satisfaction of my aspiration to escape the gravitational pull of boredom and be a part of the space race. Creativity ignited as I contrived further explanations to cover my transgression, but ultimately the truth was exposed and I had to face the consequences of my ill-fated mission. Once again I was grounded.
It has to be my way!
Our efforts to control our lives produce undesirable results. But still, we attempt to counterfeit God’s design for our lives through our own efforts. With tenacity, we persist in demanding that our way must work. And so we continue to counterfeit the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Deceived, we believe the fruit of the Spirit is merely the best side of humanity. If we try hard enough we can manufacture this fruit consistently in our lives. But living a life that is desperately dependent on Christ necessitates yielding to His Spirit’s movement as we cease endeavoring to produce our own fruit. We are incapable of producing His fruit on our own vines; we can only produce His fruit as we are grafted into His vine.
Some will continue to hold on to self-effort while lamenting their inability to achieve His promised fruit. “There must be some way to be spiritual my way. There must be a way I can access the riches of God through human means. Certainly, God will allow me to govern my life while utilizing His power.” We want the resource of grace apart from dependence on God. The problem of most spiritual struggles is not “I can’t” but “I don’t want to.” Do you want to allow God to govern your life completely?
Growing Counterfeit Fruit of the Spirit
Too often our dishonesty is apparent when we pretend we are exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit when in actuality we are only displaying the counterfeit fruit of the flesh. When the culmination of the counterfeits becomes evident in our lives, our deception is unmasked. We create our own version of genuineness and attempt to convince those around us that we are virtuous.
Without recognizing God’s absolute truth, we elevate our personal perspective as truth that should be upheld. By espousing statements such as “I honestly believe you should . . .” we promote our beliefs above God’s truth and deceive others. After all, we say, “I am being honest.” Although we may assert we are being honest, we pervert the virtue of honesty to be equivalent to God’s truth. Our so-called honesty is really a cover for being dishonest with God. We elevate our perception above God’s truth. Believing our own deception, we prevent movement toward God. Psalm 119:29 acknowledges that we deceive ourselves.
Keep me from lying to myself;Psalm 119:29 NLT
give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
Experience the abundance of His authentic fruit.
As we understand God’s instructions more completely, we can destroy the power of the lies that keep us from desperately depending on God for our sufficiency. Free from the culminations of the counterfeits, we can experience the abundance of His authentic fruit.
We must realize that it is our attempts to be independent of God that are destroying our lives. God designed humanity to live in a relationship dependent on Him, but our desire is for God to empower life on our terms. God offers love, joy, peace, and patience, but we counterfeit His fruit by being self-centered, pleasure-oriented, comfort-seeking, and controlling. Our meager efforts culminate with emptiness, futility, turmoil, and frustration. We cannot have optimal fulfillment apart from what we were created to be: complete in Christ.
Prayer Pattern to Ask for the Fruit of God’s Spirit
Lord, I want to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in my life! But instead, I have emptiness, futility, turmoil, frustration, anger, inadequacy, anxiety, alienation, and discouragement. Please let Your Holy Spirit produce His fruit in my life.
Because I belong to You, I am nailing the passions and desires of my sinful nature to Your cross and crucifying them there. I desire to live by Your Spirit and to follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of my life.based on Galatians 5:22–25
- What do I need to let go of so the Holy Spirit’s fruit can be evidenced in my life?
Become a Fruit Inspector!
Sign up to get the Fruit Chart for an excellent summary of the fruit of the Spirit and their counterfeits.
By all means, don’t miss these Fruit of the Spirit posts!
- The Fruit of the Spirit is Love
- The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy
- The Fruit of the Spirit is Peace
- The Fruit of the Spirit is Patience
- The Fruit of the Spirit is Kindness
- The Fruit of the Spirit is Goodness
- The Fruit of the Spirit is Faithfulness
- The Fruit of the Spirit is Gentleness
- The Fruit of the Spirit is Self-Control
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Excerpts from Desperate Dependency by J. Kirk & Melanie D. Lewis.
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