Hi, everyone. I just want to take a moment to talk for a moment about the difference between spiritual fruit and spiritual gifts. Spiritual fruit and spiritual gifts. This last Sunday, I preached about the spiritual gifts that Scripture tells us that God gives to the body of Christ, the Church. And we didn’t talk as much about spiritual fruit, and it’s easy to confuse the two things.
So I want to talk for just a moment about how to distinguish between those two things, and I’ll mention why this is so important as a review. What we talked about was spiritual gifts. The New Testament teaches us that a spiritual gift is a divinely bestowed ability. It comes only from God. It’s not a natural talent, but it’s something that comes directly from God to every true believer in Jesus.
And so every single Christian has at least one spiritual gift, and these are given for the purpose of achieving the common good. Scripture tells us for the building up and the strengthening of the Church and also to carry out God’s mission in the world. This is a wonderful thing that the Holy Spirit gives us. Now, spiritual fruit is a little bit different. The spiritual fruit that I’m thinking of in Scripture is a place like, say, Galatians 522 and 23 that talks about the fruit of the Spirit’s work in our lives.
The outward expression of that are going to be things like love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self control. So two different things that we’re talking about, they’re both the same work of the same Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts and spiritual fruit. But they fall under sort of different categories of spiritual blessing. One way to think about spiritual gifts is that it describes God’s divine enabling to help us to do what we do. Spiritual gifts help describe what we do, whereas spiritual fruit is more a descriptor of who we are.
No one Christian has every single spiritual gift out in the world. God gives the gifts diversely to the body of Christ, and he does that so that we’re able to depend upon one another. And you need me and I need you and those sorts of things. No one Christian has every single spiritual gift except for Jesus, of course. But when it comes to spiritual fruit, all of us as believers are to be excelling in the spiritual fruit that organically comes when we depend upon God every single day and ask him to fill us with His Spirit.
The natural byproduct of that is going to be this fruit of the Spirit. So we are to all be maturing in the fruit of the Spirit. But why this distinguishing thing here is important between spiritual gifts and spiritual fruit is that it is easy to fall prey to the thought that if a person is gifted, that that person then must be spiritually mature or perhaps even spiritually superior to someone else. But just because a person is naturally gifted or even used by God in some significant way to touch another person’s life, that doesn’t necessarily mean that that person is walking with the Lord.
We have all kinds of examples in Scripture of God using all types of unregenerate individuals to accomplish great things, and yet those were people who didn’t necessarily receive God’s approval.
So spiritual gifts should not be confused with spiritual fruit. We should be looking for spiritual fruit before we look for the spiritual gifts. But hopefully we’re excelling in both of those things. And so, in summary, spiritual gifts describe more of what we do. Spiritual fruit is more of who we are.
Spiritual gifts are more about this sort of, again, divine enabling. It describes a person’s capacity and capabilities for serving the Lord in a variety of ways. Spiritual fruit is more about character. Spiritual character. They both come from the Holy Spirit, and with spiritual gifts, God often will give that to an individual in just an instant.
Spiritual fruit usually takes time, and through a person’s walk with the Lord, spiritual fruit increasingly develops, and so both are important. I hope that we pursue both. Ultimately, what we want to do is what I shared in my sermon on Sunday about Romans twelve one. We are to offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to him, and we’re to do that in view of God’s great mercy for us. If we offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice in view of God’s mercy, that is our way of showing that we love God and that we worship God.
When we put our faith into practice, then I trust that the spiritual gifts and the spiritual fruit will be evident in our lives, and we can excel in both of those things. Well, thanks so much for joining us today. Bye.