Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love [ahava], joy [simcha], peace [shalom], longsuffering [zitzfleisch], gentleness [nedivut], goodness [chesed], faith [emunah],
We should be a people who are ruled by yetzer hatov [the good inclination]. Do we always do this? No, of course not. But, God sees our heart, and only He knows what our heart attitude is throughout all of the errors we continually make, as we lift one foot in front of the other, endeavoring to stay on the path which He has prepared for us.
Proverbs 16:32 Who is a strong person? One who overcomes his yetzer hara, as it says, "He who is slow to anger is better than the strong man, and a master of his passions is better than a conqueror of a city."
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [Emphasis added]
Having explained the difference between sin and error, I feel compelled to add that if we purposefully make the same error over and over again, then we will have entered into the arena of sin. If we "repent" [turning away from our yetzer hara], then God expects us to have a different attitude, in that He expects us to want to change the unseemly behavior weve shown in the past. Dear Reader, dont think for one nano-second that you are fooling God, when you give "lip service" to repentance, but have no change in your heart attitude! God is not mocked.
Jeremiah 16:10 And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?
If you will please indulge me for a minute, lets take a look at the "spirit" that bears the fruit in our life, shall we?
As youve probably noticed, the word "spirit" is capitalized in most versions of the Bible. This same word "spirit" is shown in Strongs Exhaustive Concordance, as #4151 pneuma. The second definition of this word in the concordance is:
2) the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated
2a) the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides [Emphasis added]
2b) the soul
Would it be presumptuous of me to submit to you that this "spirit" that is to bear fruit, is the renewal that God graciously imposes upon our human spirit when it is renewed upon salvation?
Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
This word "renewing," or
"renewed," points to that which God has done for us, according to the following
definition in Strongs Exhaustive Concordance:
AV-renewing 2; 2
1) a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better [Emphasis added]
The "fruit" that is being discussed in the opening Scripture, is the visible outgrowth of the unseen, and mysterious vital force of Ruach HaKodesh, within the spirit of man. Surely, we know that God doesnt just yank us around like puppets, therefore, there must be an intentional desire on our part, for this fruit to be manifest in our life. The most poignant fruit mentioned is the fruit of self-control [temperance]. Doesnt that point to the fact that this is something WE must do with a heart set on serving God?
Yes, we will only bear this fruit in our life once Ruach HaKodesh establishes His presence in our heart and life. But, be certain, this is not something He will do FOR us. No. This is an interactive growth process in the Kingdom of God. We are in control of our own spirit, and Ruach HaKodesh will lead us in the way of good, if we will do and hear, all that He says to us.
Perhaps this was what God was implying to Adam and Eve, when he told them to "dress and keep the garden." Could it possibly be that He was instructing them to guard the garden of their own spirit?
Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. [Emphasis added]
Its quite interesting to take a look at the
definition for this word "keep" in this particular Scripture:
a primitive root; verb
AV-keep 283, observe 46, heed 35, keeper 28, preserve 21, beware 9, mark 8, watchman 8, wait 7, watch 7, regard 5, save 2, misc 9; used 468 times
1) to keep, guard, observe, give heed
1a1) to keep, have charge of
1a2) to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life
1a2a) watch, watchman (participle)
1a3) to watch for, wait for
1a4) to watch, observe
1a5) to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory)
1a6) to keep (within bounds), restrain
1a7) to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands), perform (vow)
1a8) to keep, preserve, protect
1a9) to keep, reserve
1b1) to be on ones guard, take heed, take care, beware
1b2) to keep oneself, refrain, abstain
1b3) to be kept, be guarded
1c) (Piel) to keep, pay heed
1d) (Hithpael) to keep oneself from
Please note the definitions that have been italicized above.
In a Jewish tract [Pirke Eliezer, c. 2. fol. 72. 2.] , it is said, that his work in the garden was nothing else but to study in the words of the Torah [teaching or law], and to keep or observe the way of the tree of life: and to this agree the Targums of Jonathan and of Jerusalem.
Also note the meaning of the word "dress":
a primitive root; verb
AV-serve 227, do 15, till 9, servant 5, work 5, worshippers 5, service 4, dress 2, labour 2, ear 2, misc 14; used 290 times
1) to work, serve
1a1) to labour, work, do work
1a2) to work for another, serve another by labour
1a3) to serve as subjects
1a4) to serve (God)
1a5) to serve (with Levitical service)
1b1) to be worked, be tilled (of land)
1b2) to make oneself a servant
1c) (Pual) to be worked
1d1) to compel to labour or work, cause to labour, cause to serve
1d2) to cause to serve as subjects
1e) (Hophal) to be led or enticed to serve
Do the meanings of the word dress and keep take on the same nuance as the fruit of the spirit that we began with?
It seems quite tenable that to "dress" the garden of his spirit [by Adam] was a service to God, and it should be for us also. Do we labor to serve God? Certainly we do, since we are continually striving to have our spirit be subject to Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit of God. Just as the sequence of this Scripture states, we should dress [labor to serve God] and keep [protect and guard] our spirit, as our spirit serves as the garden for which God has given us responsibility.
May this study stir you, and provoke you to study His Word for yourself, so that you may stand before Him unashamed, and hear "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," that you may enter into His joy.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
As a closing thought, please keep your heart sincere before God, as He will search your heart and look into every nook and cranny of it, and He will see what your intent and purpose is in all things:
2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. [Emphasis added]
The Greek word for sincerity is Strongs #1505 [heilikrineia] i-lik-ree-ni-ah, and is a derivative of the combination word heilikrines, formed from heile (the sun's ray) and krino (to judge). The literal meaning communicates, to be judged by sunlight, meaning, tested as genuine, and figuratively used as pure and sincere.
Heilikrineia alludes to the Oriental bazaars where pottery was displayed in dimly lit rooms or tents. Dishonest dealers would use tinted wax to camouflage any chips, cracks or defects in their wares. A discerning buyer would hold any prospective purchase up to the sun and thereby judge its quality, as the suns rays would expose any hidden defects. Heilikrineia describes a person who is genuine and is not governed by any hidden motives or intents.
1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:Humbly submitted for the edification of the saints by Anna L. Schwery