The Fruits of the Spirit
By Femi Aribisala
Paul’s fruit of the Spirit is precisely the sheep’s clothing Jesus warned us wolves would wear.
Ask Joe Christian for the fruits of the Spirit, and he will answer you with Paul’s “voice of a stranger.” (John 10:5). Paul says: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23). However, Jesus warns believers: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-16). Paul’s fruit of the Spirit is precisely the sheep’s clothing Jesus warns us wolves would wear.
As usual, Paul’s fruit comes with many anomalies. All Christians claim to have Paul’s fruit of the Spirit because all it takes to receive Paul’s Holy Spirit is to say “Jesus is Lord.” (1 Corinthians 12:3). This makes Paul’s definition practically useless. It ensures bad trees are deceptively confused with good trees in Christendom. Moreover, Paul’s tree has more than one fruit, which is practically impossible. James says figs don’t grow on a grapevine. (James 3:12). But they do on Paul’s tree of the Spirit. His tree has nine different fruits which he nevertheless refers to confusingly as one fruit. This is yet another example of Paul’s illogical Christianity.
Jesus identifies the Holy Spirit as: “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.” (John 14:17). This means unbelievers do not have the Holy Spirit. However, many unbelievers have Paul’s “fruit of the Spirit.” They are loving; peaceful; long-suffering; and faithful. So how come they have the fruit of the Spirit without having the Holy Spirit? Moreover, many Christians, including those who claim to be born again, are wicked, quarrelsome and cantankerous. So how come they have the Holy Spirit without the fruit of the Spirit? As usual, Paul’s lofty dogma falls apart in real life.
Enough with Paul’s strange doctrine! According to Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith,” fruits come from a man’s spirit and they are the words of his mouth. Jesus says: “A good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:43-45).
With Jesus’ more practical and precise definition, we can easily identify a false prophet. We don’t have to wait for him to give a prophecy and then see if it comes to pass. We can even identify him within minutes of hearing him speak. Is he speaking the words of Jesus, or is he speaking his own words? Is he speaking the words of the good shepherd or is he speaking the words of strangers? Once we are schooled in Jesus’ doctrine, it is easy to identify a false prophet. His words are anathema to Christ. Therefore, Jesus says: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27). “They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:5).
It makes no difference whether the speaker is the pope, the General Overseer of the Church of God, or the most venerable reverend. If he does not speak the words of Jesus, he is a false prophet. Once Peter contradicted the word of God, Jesus immediately identified a contrary spirit in him: “He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an offense to me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.’” (Matthew 16:23).
Jesus knew by Peter’s words when Satan was speaking through him. He also knew by Peter’s words when the Father was speaking through him. (Matthew 16:17). So the next time you hear your pastor or Adeboye, Oyedepo, Oyakhilome and other vaunted so-called “men of God” speak, identify them by the fruit of their lips. You will be amazed what you will discover.
How can we tell if a man is mad? We often mistakenly determine his insanity by his appearance. If his hair is unkempt and his clothing dishevelled, we conclude he is mad. But that might just indicate he is poor or untidy. The precision of Jesus’ definition is clear. Just listen to him and you will soon know by his words.
How do we receive the Holy Spirit? We do by receiving the words of Jesus Christ. Jesus says: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). When the word of Jesus comes into us, it brings the life and power of God with it.
In the Old Testament, when the Holy Spirit fell upon men, it was manifest in their speech; they started to prophesy. (1 Samuel 10:9-12). In the New Testament, when a man is baptised in the Holy Spirit, he often receives the gift of speaking in unknown tongues. (Acts 2:1-4). But let me tell you an even more radical method for determining the fruits of a man’s spirit. Step on his toes then listen to what comes out of his lips. Out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth will speak.
Paul’s bogus fruit of the Spirit ensures we cannot identify Paul himself as a false prophet. Indeed, Paul arrogates to himself disingenuously the status of Christ. He says: “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 14:37). In short, according to Paul, a false prophet is anyone who contradicts whatever Paul says. Not true; a false prophet is anyone who contradicts Jesus.
When the high priest told someone to slap Paul, his sheep’s clothing came right off. What came out of Paul’s mouth was a curse. He said: “God shall slap you, you whitewashed pigpen.” (Acts 23:3). When told that some Jewish Christians were insisting Gentile believers should be circumcised, Paul responded with malice and hatred: “I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!” (Galatians 5:12). When told about a man’s adultery, Paul issued a devious directive: “Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:5). These are not the words of Christ. They are not the fruits of his Spirit by any stretch of the imagination.
Solomon counsels: “A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth.” (Proverbs 13:2). He warns furthermore: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:20-21). These wise sayings are validated by Jesus. He says in agreement: “Every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37).