By Shane Lockard
Last fall my family and I visited a farm in East Tennessee. We had a great time picking our own pumpkins, taking a hayride, and playing in the barn. We also tried to navigate our way through a corn maze. Though we were given a map, it was not easy finding our way. I became the appointed guide to lead my family out.
The Spirit Leads
In Galatians 5, Paul says that we are led by one of two things: the flesh or the Spirit. It should be the goal of every Christian to be led by the Holy Spirit. In John 14, Jesus promised the gift of his Spirit, who would “[live] with you and will be in you” (v. 17). Then he said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (v. 18). Jesus followed that up by saying the Spirit “will guide you into all truth” (16:13).
The Spirit Feeds
But the Spirit does more than lead us through life. He helps us live a life that is pleasing to our Father. Specifically, he helps produce fruit in us—fruit that characterizes a true follower of God. This includes qualities like “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22, 23). But don’t expect these qualities to show up because you simply obeyed some rules or laws. That’s Paul’s point in Galatians. Spiritual fruit comes from the inside out. It cannot be manufactured, bought, or earned. It flows naturally out of the life led by God’s Holy Spirit. The flesh produces “acts that lead to death” (Hebrews 9:14), but the Spirit produces fruit.
Oh, by the way, we eventually made it out of the corn maze. That reminds me of our journey. We’re walking through the maze of the shadow of death right now. Eventually the Spirit will lead us to our eternal home that ends at God’s throne. But along the way, the fruit of the Spirit helps us enjoy the journey and draw others to join us.
Shane Lockard is the minister of the Zebulon Church of Christ in Pikeville, Kentucky. He and his wife Bethany have three children: Aly, Luke, and Elijah.