Our expressions tell others a lot about ourselves. How we feel; what we might be meditating on; and who we are serving. In many cases, it reveals the character we have chosen to embody at that time.
Christ displayed many expressions while on earth; actually He expressed nine in all. These nine expressions were not only His way of living life on earth, but it’s also how He expresses Himself to you and me today.
As a Christian we have been given these same nine expressions of Christ that we can embody in our everyday life. They are all found in the Fruit of the Spirit, “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Notice that in Galatians there is one fruit with many expressions. And the entire fruit is the totality of God’s character. Secondly, when we show these many expressions through our everyday life, we are not in conflict with God’s Law. We live righteously. As the challenge to you and me, we must remember that when we accept Christ as our Savior, we must do as Jesus did; 1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever claims to live in Christ must walk as He did.” To walk as He did means we must conduct our lives in the manner in which He did; this would include our expressions – it’s not just facial, it’s physical, verbal and more importantly it’s relational. It’s our whole way of doing life with others.
You will notice that each expression is not seen unless it is practiced in relationships. For example, you can’t love if there is no one to love. You can’t have joy if there’s no one to serve, for joy is best expressed by serving others. We are to pursue peace with others, which means to seek harmony when things aren’t so agreeable. Patience is best practiced when we need to wait on God and wait on others. Patience lends itself to love with endurance, trust with hope. It’s hard to be kind if there is no one on the receiving end. Goodness is practiced out of good will for another, as we seek what’s best for others above ourselves. Faithfulness requires being loyal to someone else. Gentleness isn’t needed if there’s no one fragile and in need of our tender care. Self-control is the only expression where it requires we have a strong relationship with ourselves so that we are not a stumbling block to others.
Not only is the fruit of the Spirit – one fruit with many expressions – the total character of God – relational, it also comes to us in seed form. If we are in Christ, we get the whole fruit. Unlike the gifts of the Holy Spirit, where we may receive a few as the Spirit determines, we can have all nine of the expressions of Christ.
But the important thing to note, is each seed must be developed. Each expression transforms us into the image of God’s Son as we learn about Him, walk through the testings of life, practice what He taught, and rely totally on the Spirit of God to help us each step of the way.
The questions are…
- Are we learning and growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ?
- Are we allowing the testings in our life finish their good work in and through us?
- Are we practicing what Jesus did and does?
- Are we relying on the Spirit?
Some of the Fruit of the Spirit are very obvious in us. People see them easily in us. On the other hand, there are some that lay dormant. We need to give them more attention and ask the Holy Spirit to show what’s holding us back.
As a nonbeliever in Christ, impatience and lack of endurance was my constant expression. When life got hard, I was the walk out woman, the run away. I gave up. Even as a new believer, this was a struggle for me. I was always looking for a way around my challenges vs. a way through them. I lacked the patient endurance needed to let the struggle finish a good work in me. But over the years, I have been intentional at asking the Spirit of God to help me with this. Now when I meet a trial, I still want to quit sometimes; the temptation is staring me in the face; but this means I have a choice. Will I walk by my flesh, or by the Spirit? I am much better at going through things, because now I have a different perspective. My mindset is on the growth not the obstacle. The other part to this, is I know I’m not alone. Christ in me is with me and He goes through everything I face.
- What part of Christ’s expressions come easily to you?
- What’s part of the Fruit of the Spirit is dormant that needs extra attention?
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit”