It is necessary to understand the fundamental difference between gifts and fruit of the Spirit. The fruit is the natural product of a continuously developing inner life principle.
The development of the fruit takes time, it is brought to perfection thanks to the help of external elements: the sun, the rain, the soil.
Donations, on the other hand, are conferred by the generosity of someone who is outside of us.
In general, they are perfect when we receive them, although the person who receives them can learn to use them better and better, for example in the case where we receive a camera or a car.
What is essential for our present study is that the fruit comes gradually from within, while the gifts come all at once from outside. This definition is a little simplistic, but it helps to understand this fundamental difference.
The fruit of the Spirit is therefore the manifestation and the product of the divine life which was imparted to the believer at the moment of conversion; it can appear almost instantaneously in some cases, but more often it appears gradually by a growth in grace.
Its development is favored by external means of grace, such as the help of Christians and pastors, the circumstances of life and above all the communion with God.
This fruit can grow throughout the Christian life, holiness must grow steadily.
The gifts of the Spirit, on the contrary, can be conferred suddenly, at any point in the experience of the Christian; it is clear from the New Testament that some believers have received a gift at the same time as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Others have been granted to them at certain turning points in their Christian lives (for example, 1 Timothy 4 / 14, which probably refers to the time when Timothy was set apart for the ministry, Acts 16 / 1-3). One could desire new gifts and pray for them (1 Corinthians 12 / 31). The granting of the gifts of the Holy Ghost therefore seems more or less independent of the maturity attained by the believer from the point of view of growth in grace; it being understood that the Lord can judge the capacity of each individual.
They can not spring from the inner life, but are sovereign acts of the great donor.
Love is not a spiritual gift.
The first and greatest manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit is love.
So wonderful is this divine love that manifests itself in and through a life wholly delivered to the Spirit of Christ, that when Paul devotes a chapter (1 Corinthians 13) we feel that he is actually describing the ideal Christian.
It must be understood that this love is a fruit and not a gift, 1 Corinthians 14 / 1 makes a distinction.
It is not scriptural to say, "I seek love, the greatest of all gifts! "
Many speak this way, but love is not mentioned in the list of the nine gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12 / 8 to 11).
Rather than waiting for love (1 Corinthians 13) as a finished gift that God would suddenly put in the heart, we must consider that it is only the fruit of the development of a divine principle in U.S. He becomes perfect through a life of close communion with the Lord and not otherwise.
If we consider love so beautifully described in I Corinthians 13, as being not only the first manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5 / 22), but as including in it all other manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit, we can note two very important facts about the relationship between gifts and fruit:
a) There are 9 donations listed in 1 Corinthians 12 / 8 to 11, and 9 fruit manifestations listed in 5 / 22 and 23 Galates.
b) The great chapter on love (1 Corinthians 13) is inserted between the two main chapters that deal with spiritual gifts and is an integral part of the subject.
The first teaches us that the gifts and the fruit are destined to complement each other; the second fact, that they are in intimate relation.
Paul's exhortation is often interpreted as "the most excellent way" as if the apostle said, "Do not deal with spiritual gifts, only seek love." This is false; for it is not written: "seek love instead of spiritual gifts"; but "seek love and aspire to spiritual gifts". It is a lack of equilibrium contrary to Scripture to ignore or neglect spiritual gifts.
A call to balance.
When the apostle writes; "Aspire to the best gifts" and "I will show you one more way" it does not invite us to neglect spiritual gifts.
He appeals to balance and he establishes the true spiritual values.
The greatest thing of all is a growing likeness to Christ.
It is therefore a serious mistake to think that gifts can take the place of fruit.
He develops this thought with great strength in the first verses of 1 Corinthians 13.
He represents the spiritual gifts operating in the most brilliant way - then he annihilates this splendor at once.
The gift of tongues, that of prophecy of knowledge and faith, everything is also lowered. All reasoning is for those who exercise these gifts without having love.
It's a striking passage.
It is a passage of paramount importance to all who claim to have a Pentecost experience.
Note that the apostle does not question for a moment the authenticity of the gifts (as so many people do today), it is not about counterfeits that come from some demonic power. These are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit, which the faithful have received directly from the Lord Himself, but which they now practice without having kept the sense of true spiritual values. If anyone is surprised here, it is because he represents spiritual gifts as being imposed on man by the Holy Spirit. In reality these chapters show that once the gifts are granted, their exercise is available to the individual (1 Corinthians 14 / 19, 28, 30, 32).
The ideal is that the believer submits his will so perfectly to the will of God that any exercise of the gifts is really done "in the Spirit".
It is not always so, but it should be the goal of all who have spiritual gifts.
What happens when you exercise your gifts without love?
a) this exercise is powerless and it is irritating to others.
b) The one who makes the donation does not make a profit for himself, (it does not help, 1 Cor.13 / 1 to 3).
Even more clearly:
a) a Christian who exercises the spiritual gifts without living a life which is in conformity with it, does not make the slightest impression on others, it is on the contrary a stumbling block for them.
b) A Christian who fancies that by practicing abundant spiritual gifts, he can make up for his lack of personal holiness, is mistaken at all.
Then the apostle gives a positive description of the wonders of love (1 Corinthians 13 / 4 to 7), and crowns everything by showing that these qualities are eternal.
Spiritual gifts, on the contrary, (and he cites prophecy, languages and knowledge) are only for the present century where we see as through a mirror.
Its purpose is to give the true sense of spiritual values and to elevate the ambition of its readers to the highest possible point; until they see each other face to face ...
For those who would like to distort the meaning of this passage, it must be emphasized that the apostle does not say that one of the spiritual gifts must cease before time.
A true doctrine is always balanced; This is why, immediately after the impassioned eloquence of the last verses of 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle hastens to prevent a possible reaction against spiritual gifts; one must "aspire to spiritual gifts" (1 Corinthians 14 / 1).
But now he is going to give a detailed teaching on the principles which must preside over the exercise of the gifts, and the key of all is the love.
Chapter 14 is a practical application of Chapter 13 to the question of spiritual gifts.
Love is not content with the selfish exercise of a gift (see 4, etc.); love will have a burning desire to see others receive blessings (see 19, etc.); love will be very careful never to be scandalous to anyone (v. 26, etc.); all this brings us back to a perfect balance between gifts and fruit.
The Christian who will have the most fruit of the Spirit will be the Christian who exercises the spiritual gifts with the most profit.
A theatrical display of gifts, however brilliant, will produce nothing eternal; Man must be led by the love of God.
The character of the devotee who exercises a spiritual gift will not greatly affect the outward manifestation of this gift, but it will have a considerable effect on his edifying power.
This is of paramount importance.
author: Donald Gee