Am I a true Christian if I don’t show the fruit of the spirit?
Every Christian has shortcomings. Even the great Apostle Paul said, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Romans 7:19).
Being a true Christian often involves struggle, especially when we see that God wants us to change who we are to become more like Christ.
The fruits of the spirit are a set of standards for the development of our characters. These qualities often take a lifetime to attain. They are described in Galatians 5:22-25.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
If you are serious about being a committed Christian it would be helpful to keep this list before your mind. Print it out and post it somewhere you can see every day. Asking for God’s help and direction is essential. We cannot do it by ourselves. God knows our fallen condition and is patient for our growth. Since these qualities do not grow by themselves, we have to make the effort to grow them within us.
Our fallen flesh will almost always have an opinion on something. If our first reaction to something is sinful, like anger or jealousy, then it is important that we recognize it is our fallen flesh that is expressing itself. When we recognize that such a reaction is not pleasing to God, we can ask ourselves, “what should a proper godly reaction be?” We can learn the answer to that by studying the scriptures and the life of Jesus. How would he want us to respond?
Once we determine the correct response, we can push aside our fallen human response and give the right godly one. With enough practice and patience, the second, more thoughtful, response will begin to become more natural. In that way the fruit is being planted in our character. In many cases the same godly principle may apply in vastly different situations. This approach is a very practical help in overcoming the sinful parts of our character and planting what is good and right.
Becoming what God wants us to become also means that our lifestyles will follow a certain course. If you are living in a way that is not pleasing to God, then that is the first place to start. We may need to change the things we do, the places we go, even the programs we watch.
Romans 12:2 says, “…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” This means that to be pleasing God we cannot live by the standards of the world.
Some of the questions each Christian must answer for themselves are, “Am I serious about being a Christian? Am I willing to make the effort of searching for God’s will and committing myself to it, as best I can?”
If you can say, “yes” to these then you are a Christian but simply need encouragement. When you can find fellowship with like-minded individuals who are active in God’s service, this can also be very helpful.
To learn more about how to develop the fruit of the spirit as a Christian listen to,
“Am I Failing as a Christian?”
“What is the Fruit of Your Life?” (Part 1 & 2)