As a part of my Bible college education, I had to write lesson plans. In one class, it was required to write a lesson nearly every week, and evaluate other classmates’ lessons. One of the lessons I wrote was on the Fruit of Spirit:
Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
My lesson encouraged Christians to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. Although the professor didn’t lower my grade, one of my classmates wrote all over my paper. She commented that we call them fruit of the Spirit, because the Spirit produces them, not us.
We aren’t responsible for the fruit. I knew that God wants us to love (John 13:34-35), to have joy (Phil. 4:4), and to demonstrate the other fruits too. I knew that I was a Christian and the Holy Spirit was with me. If we aren’t responsible for the fruit, but Holy Spirit is, why don’t I see more fruit in my life? I did and still feel emotions that lead me to act contrary to the Spirit.
But I am learning that my emotions are “a gauge, not a guide.” John Bloom describes the difference better than I could. He writes,
God designed your emotions to be gauges, not guides. They’re meant to report to you, not dictate you. The pattern of your emotions (not every caffeine-induced or sleep-deprived one!) will give you a reading on where your hope is because they are wired into what you believe and value — and how much. That’s why emotions like delight (Psalm 37:4), affection (Romans 12:10), fear (Luke 12:5), anger (Psalm 37:8), joy (Psalm 5:11), etc., are so important in the Bible. They reveal what your heart loves, trusts, and fears.
As Christians sometime we allow our emotions to dictate our actions and lead us into sin, but God uses our emotions to reveal to us who we actually love, trust, and fear. Sometimes, Satan can confuse us into thinking we are better than we are. But if we will stop and ask ourselves some questions, God will reveal the truth inside His heart and our heart.
- Am I allowing my emotions to be a gauge of my decisions?
- Where is my hope?
- In what do I delight?
- What do I fear?
Identify your emotions so that you recognize what your heart “loves, trust, and fears?” And when we love, trust, and fear God, the Holy Spirit produces more fruit in our lives.
I did this process just this week. I noticed that my emotions were guiding me to not do what God was encouraging me to do. I realized that I should be hopeful in God and delight in His work. I was able to face my fear of not knowing all the details, and obey God like He wants me too.
This week, I chose to love, trust, and fear God and I was able to love others.
Maybe my college classmate knew that we choose who we are going to love, trust, and fear. When we choose to love, trust, and fear God; the Holy Spirit produces more of His fruit in us. When you don’t see the Fruit of the Spirit, we should connect to God.
If you love, trust, and fear God, you will see fruit that the Spirit will produce in you.
My prayer for us:
Use our emotions to convict us when we don’t love, trust, and fear You. Often we follow our emotions into sin, but we want our emotions to remind us to connect with You. You want us to love you. You want us to trust You. You want us to fear You. Help us to want and do what You want.
P.S. To learn more about emotions, read the rest of John’s blog. https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/your-emotions-are-a-gauge-not-a-guide