Day 1

In Step with the Spirit

from the The Fruit of the Spirit reading plan


Galatians 5:16-26, John 14:15-17, John 15:1-15

BY Patti Sauls

One tomato. I had grand plans for our backyard garden, but all I got to show for hours of watering and weeding was one, tiny, red tomato. I wish I could wax eloquent about the satisfaction of eating the fruit of my labors. (Fun fact: Tomatoes are botanically classified as fruit.) Instead, my lone tomato humbled me as I admitted that my efforts weren’t enough to produce abundant fruit. 

Today’s reading reveals garden rhythms as well. On the night before He was arrested, Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener” (John 15:1). Jesus comforted His friends by reminding them that God vigilantly tends to all of His creation. 

Jesus’s encouragement continued as He described branches, which grew from the vine and produced fruit. These branches, representing His followers, would be healthy and fruitful as long as they were connected to the vine. “Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me” (John 15:4).

The apostle Paul further described this spiritual fruit, explaining that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). These qualities shine collectively like the facets of a sparkling diamond. Together, they illuminate a Christian’s growing inner posture of dependence and obedience toward God, as well as her outer impact on the people and world around her. To this nourishing fruit I say, “Yes, please!”

But how do we produce such fruit? Do I summon my will power and attempt to weed out my sinful nature that so quickly yields hate, jealousy, selfishness, and worse? (Galatians 5:19–21). I may try, but as soon as I pull up one ugly weed, others sprout up in its place. This scramble ends with the same result as my backyard garden—little fruit and lots of awareness of my inability to produce it.

Are we sentenced to fruitless despair? No, we are given a resource that Jesus announces and seals with a promise: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (John 14:16). What deep relief! God doesn’t intend for us to muster up spiritual growth on our own. Instead, the Holy Spirit is poured out on us to work in us. 

Although we are dependent on the Spirit to produce fruit, we are not passive. As a sunflower turns its head to seek out the sun, so we can orient our lives toward God through prayer, Bible study, repentance, praise, and other habits. As Paul said, “If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). We are free to put one foot in front of the other, confidently seeking faithful obedience while resting and remaining in the promise that God fuels our movement by His Spirit at work in and through us.

Post Comments (178)

178 thoughts on "In Step with the Spirit"

  1. Megan Crawford says:

    I so often want to produce fruit on my own & get so frustrated at myself.. Praise the Lord that I can’t produce fruit on my own though.. He produces it in me. All I must do is intentionally seek Him & abide in His love. What a sweet reminder that is ❤️

  2. TONI MCMANUS says:

    God is doing a Good thing.

  3. Blessing Godswill says:

    Hmmmmmm, powerful word of God. I’m blessed

  4. Abril Garcia says:

    The analogies are great and also humbling. I can’t count how many times I’ve pulled weeds only to find more. Through Gods unending GRACE I can continue to work hard on my walk with Jesus. I’m not perfect but I’m still loved and cherished.

    It’s astonishing that sunflowers know where to look to for nutrition.

  5. Queen Harris says:

    We are not passive in this pursuit. Great reminder

  6. Michele Matlock says:

    So easy to look away from the sun/son. Refreshing reminder that all I need to do to return to receiving the light that helps me grow is look back toward the sun/son

  7. Jessica Marrero says:

    Love the analogy of the garden this was awesome.

  8. Michelle Royce says:

    Sunflower analogy, looking toward the sun/son

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