Understanding the Fruit-Gifts Relationship (4) By Babatunde Olugboji
Happy New Year!
This week marks the conclusion of the 4-part series on the relationship between the fruit of the Spirit and the gift of the Spirit as we transition to 2024.
Do you know that you can retain your gifts whether or not we’re growing in a relationship with Christ? People can have them regardless of their character.
Remember, gifts attract, fruit retains. A person’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men. (Proverbs 18:16) Gifts get you to an elevated place, fruit keeps you there. Gifts may attract people to you, but those same people will only know you are a true believer when they see your fruit. Be eager to ask God for the gifts but keep cultivating the fruit that can only come from a relationship with Christ.
Often, people confess Jesus but do not possess Jesus. Baptism, confirmation, or other religious rites are good, but they are not the fruit. Some people attend church services but spend the rest of their time living entirely for themselves. Some may rise to prominence, teaching or preaching, writing books, with millions of twitter followers, but the fruit of their lives contradicts their words. While we can never know anyone else’s heart, we can make wise assessments by observing their fruit.
Fruit is something that inevitably appears on a healthy tree or a spiritually healthy believer. Gifts, however, are freely and unconditionally given regardless of the ability of the receiver to put such gifts to good use. It isn’t that the gifts are unimportant, far from. We need to mature and exercise them more than ever before. Gifts like wisdom, discernment, prophecy, healing are essential for our world. Gifts are very important as a tool of evangelism. The Bible makes it clear that some would only come to Jesus when they see miracles. (John 4:48)
However, gifts are nowhere near as significant as the fruit. So rather than focusing on whether my ministry is growing or is my anointing increasing, you should be asking, am I kinder, do I bring peace, am I wiser, am I loving, am I more patient? We need divine love expressed, joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, faith that prevails, a kind and gentle heart, and a strong spirit. We need a combination of the gifts and fruit to truly fulfill our purpose. We bless our world, glorify Jesus, and find true fulfillment so much more when we are bearing fruit. The exercising of gifts and ministry from a “fruit filled life” is much healthier for us, and the people we serve.
Have you chased after gifts at the expense of the fruit? Ask which fruit God would like to cultivate in you. I challenge you this New Year to take time to check where you are in terms of the fruit and the gifts. Remember, gifts are primarily tools that God has given us to stimulate faith in others and to minister to them.
Be thankful for the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given you, but every day, desire more of the fruit, than the gifts. We need the gift for the work of the ministry, but the fruit is evidence of progress. Cultivating the fruit will make you more effective in operating your gifts.
Finally, without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrew 11:6) Guess what? Faith is a fruit of the Spirit Without the fruit of Faith, you cannot please God.
Have a great year 2024!
Join me live on FACEBOOK & YOUTUBE every Sunday at 7am (EST) for an insightful time of the word.