I walked by that tree dozens of times. I had no idea what kind of tree it was. It was just a tree of the edge of one of the fairways at the Lions Club Municipal Golf Course in El Dorado, Arkansas.
A group of four to eight pastors played golf together on Monday afternoons. I joined them as often as my schedule allowed.
I hit the ball near that tree one afternoon and noticed its fruit all around its base. I immediately recognized it because one of these trees grew in my Dad’s cow pasture. Ripe persimmons littered the ground.
It is easy to name a tree by what falls out of it: acorns, Oak Tree; hickory nuts, Hickory Tree; apples, Apple Tree; peaches, Peach Tree.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 ESV
Prior to this verse, Paul writes about legalism versus grace. Some people wanted to add an old legal requirement to receive God’s salvation. Of course, Paul argues God saves us by grace alone.
So how do we keep ourselves under control? Don’t we need a bunch of rules? Doesn’t this salvation through grace thing need some of the old law attached?
No, we need to walk by the Spirit. If you walk by the Spirit, the Spirit will never lead you in the wrong direction.
How do we know when we get it right? Well, in the next few verses he tells us. Just look at the fruit (and nuts) that are falling out in our actions and attitudes!
Guess which tree produces immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, and wild parties?
Do we need a bunch of rules to keep us from doing these things? No, “walk by the Spirit.”
Guess which tree bears love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Do we need a bunch of rules telling us to do these? No, “walk by the Spirit.”
But “walk by the Spirit” is so vague! How do we do that?
Feed the Spirit; starve the old sinful nature. Then watch what falls out around you and you will know if you are getting it right or not.
Our Father, thank-you for making us the temple of your Holy Spirit. We commit today to walk in the control, direction, and guidance of Your Spirit. Enable us to see the fruit that confirms how we are doing.