The fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit have the same Author. Yet, they are not the same. No one is required to manifest a gift of the Spirit, but everyone should manifest the fruit of the Spirit.
Spiritual gifts do not necessarily testify to spirituality, but the fruit of the Spirit does. While there is only one fruit, there are many gifts, and some are greater than others.
While all aspects of the fruit of the Spirit are designed by God to be visible in the lives of His followers, not every believer has the same gift or gifts. There is no command that all should have one particular gift, such as speaking in tongues. Instead, God sovereignly equips His believers with different gifts as He sees fit. The gifts of the Spirit are given so that we can serve others and build up the body of Christ, His church. These gifts are not given for our own pleasure and glory. They are bestowed to further the cause of God.
Therefore, spiritual gifts are worthless without the fruit of the Spirit. It is interesting that within the context of the spiritual gifts, love is often alluded to. Immediately after 1 Corinthians 12 comes the supreme description of love, in chapter 13. Ephesians 4:11-13 is followed in verses 15 and 16 with reference to love. The next verses after Romans 12:3-8, where the gifts of the Spirit are mentioned, speak about love (see Rom. 12:9-10).
The gifts are, after all, gifts of grace; that is, they are gifts of love. They are given out of love and serve the love of God in reaching other people. By loving others, we are revealing the love of God to them. A loving and omniscient God provides the means to accomplish what He has commissioned His people to do. Perhaps that is why love is the greatest gift of all (1 Cor. 13:13).
|Why is love so central to all that we do as Christians? How does love, in a sense, “empower” our witness?|