September 24, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”—Matthew 11:28–30 (NIV)
“What’s God like?” That’s the fundamental question that we’ve been answering over the past several days as we’ve been taking a close look at the “fruit” or the evidences of the Holy Spirit as He produces them in a Christian’s life. Now it’s worth reminding that when we talk about this fruit, we’re not just talking about arbitrary things. These are the very qualities of the Holy Spirit, Himself! He produces love because He is loving, He produces joy because He is joyful, He produces peace because He is peaceful, and so on.
That’s an important truth to hold onto, because whenever we delve into a spiritual subject, we’re dealing with something we can’t see with our natural eyes. As a result, we can drift in our comprehension of it. And here’s how this can happen when it comes to the fruit of the Spirit: We can start to see the fruit as a sort of product or piece of produce rather than an extension of the very character of the Lord. “Yeah, I know God wants me to be patient so He walks into His heavenly warehouse, goes down the patience isle, grabs a box off the shelf, pulls out some patience, and then drops it in my spiritual shopping cart. Right?”
How many of us have thought like that? But that’s so not what Scripture reveals on this subject. God isn’t desiring anything for or in us that isn’t also in Him. He’s not an impersonal sales clerk dispensing spiritual inventory. Rather, He’s as intimately involved in making these qualities realities in our lives as one could ever imagine. The closest natural image we can grasp is how a tree imparts its life-giving and fruit-producing properties to the branches that are connected to it. That’s the natural picture of the spiritual reality. God is, through the agency of His Holy Spirit, imparting His life, the very characteristics of who He is, into us. The fruit is the very reflection of Him.
At the end of the day, everyone, even those who have a deep and abiding faith in God, desires to know what He’s like. More than a desire, it’s a basic need we all have. We know it’s a need because God went to the greatest lengths to provide for this need by revealing what He’s like through His Son, Jesus. Christ left His place in heaven and was born into this world so humanity could witness what God is really like. That is what we see in Christ’s earthly existence—the Almighty Creator walking amidst and declaring Himself to His creation. And what’s He like? Notice in today’s verse as He says, “I am gentle.”
God is gentle. He isn’t harsh, cruel, insensitive, or abrasive. Re-read today’s passage to get a profound picture of what this gentleness is like. It’s His Spirit who works in us to produce this very quality in all those who are connected to Him through faith. What’s God like? A life filled with the gentleness of God’s Spirit is part of the answer.
Pause: How does the fruit of the Spirit help in understanding what God is like?
Practice: Consider how you should view the process of God’s Spirit producing fruit in your life.
Pray: Lord, I am humbled and awed by the work You undertake in my life. You meet me in my deepest depravity and cleanse me and then go even further by producing who You are in me! Thank You for doing such a work as this and may I never lose sight of all that’s involved in Your Spirit’s work in my life. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.