Living In, Guided By, and Bearing Fruit of the Spirit

The Active Presence of the Holy Spirit, Week 6

by Adam White

We all need help.

I do not know specific predicaments you may face, but needing help is a truth for all of us. I don’t think I truly embraced the reality that I needed help, holistically, until I met, and committed my life in sacred union with my partner, Blair.

Hear me out—I knew I needed help before that time and sought support from others for certain issues that surfaced throughout my life. For instance, I desperately needed help with math during high school and sought out a tutor—Thanks, Mrs. Pyle, for making sense out of Algebra for an ADHD teenager, no easy task! Or when I struggled with the pain of my mother’s suffering due to dementia, I needed support from friends, family, and ultimately a counselor.

However, it wasn’t until I was completely and consistently vulnerable with my partner, Blair, that I realized how much in need I truly was. The reality, before I met and married Blair, was that I could hide. I could choose when to appear and receive help from others, only to return to myself and inward concerns.

Through Blair, God has shown and continues to show me how holistic help embodies living in, being guided by, and bearing fruit of the Spirit’s love. This kind of love is about stepping outside yourself everyday and placing the concerns of another person in front of you to discern where you can support them and how. This is a love that openly yields itself to moments of discernment where mistakes, fears, insecurities, and other difficulties may arise. However, in this love of God’s Spirit, there is also “joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

After listing off the fruits of the Spirit, Paul goes on to express that “If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24). It is not enough to acknowledge that the Spirit is found in things like love, joy, peace, and patience, but we also have to commit ourselves daily to place the concerns of God before us by being led by the Holy Spirit. When we are led in this way, our daily reality tends toward living with love, joy, peace, patience, and so on.

As a church, seeking to reconcile itself to God by following Christ, our help is present and embodied in the Holy Spirit. We can see this in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. In his letter, Paul refers to a dynamic relationship with the Holy Spirit, urging the church to live in the Spirit, be guided by the Spirit, bear the fruit of the Spirit. Over the years of his own pilgrimage with the risen Christ, Paul learns to listen to and cooperate with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. [1]

Our relationships with God and each other are holistically tied to listening to and being led by the Spirit. Love and all the other fruits of the Spirit are revealed as we walk alongside and help one another. When we live in, are guided by, and bear fruit of God’s Spirit, we can trust that we are involved in receiving the most sacred form of help available.

Invitation to Missional Mindfulness:

  • In what ways do you sense that you are living, being guided by, and bearing fruit of the Spirit? In what ways do you yearn to live, be guided by, and bear fruit of the Spirit?

  • How are you currently listening to God’s Spirit? Where has this listening moved you to be led by the Spirit?


Slightly adapted from Heath, Elaine A, God Unbound. Nashville: Upper Room Books, 2016.