Real or Fake?
October 17, 2007, 2:44 pm
Filed under: gospel

This past Sunday I shared about the fruit of the Spirit, and how we must be careful not to assume that when we display love, joy, peace, patience, etc. that it is fruit of the Spirit, because we are capable of producing counterfeit fruit that comes from selfish motivation rather than from love. It is very important for us to consider this because only as we understand the Gospel deeply will we produce the qualitatively different fruit of the Spirit. Only in the power of the Gospel can we overcome our sinful nature. Therefore, we must not “settle” for external “virtue” that does not flow from the Spirit because of the Gospel, but we must continue to live in the freedom of the Gospel and seek to produce true fruit. The following list helps to understand what true and counterfeit fruit looks like. It is taken from Redeemer Presbyterian Church’s bible study series on Galatians written by Dr. Timothy Keller.

1. Love
Definition– To serve a person for their good and intrinsic value, not for what the person brings you.
Opposite– Fear: self-protection and abusing people.
Counterfeit– Selfish affection. Rescuing someone but really rescuing self. Attracted not to person, but to how this person’s love makes you feel about yourself.

2. Joy
Definition– Delight in God and his salvation for sheer beauty and worth of who he is.
Opposite– Hopelessness, despair.
Counterfeit– Elation that comes with blessings not the Blesser! Mood swings based on circumstances.

3. Peace
Definition– Confidence and rest in the wisdom and sovereignty of God more than your own.
Opposite– Anxiety and worry.
Counterfeit– Indifference, apathy, not caring about something. “I don’t care.”

4. Patience
Definition– Ability to take trouble (from others or life) without blowing. To suffer joyfully.
Opposite– Resentment toward God and others.
Counterfeit– Cynicism. Self-righteousness. “This is too small to be bothered about.”

5. Kindness
Definition– Practical kindness with vulnerability out of deep inner security.
Opposite– Envy. Unable to rejoice other’s joy.
Counterfeit– Manipulative good deeds. “Right hand knowing what left hand is doing.” Self-congratulation and self-righteousness.

6. Goodness (integrity)
Definition– Honesty, transparency. Being the same in one situation as another.
Opposite– Phoniness; hypocrisy.
Counterfeit– Truth without love. “Getting it off the chest” for your sake.

7. Faithfulness
Definition– Loyalty. Courage. To be principle-driven, committed, utterly reliable. True to one’s word.
Opposite– Opportunist. Fair-weather friend.
Counterfeit– Love without truth. Being loyal when you should be willing to confront or challenge.

8. Gentleness (humility)
Definition– Self-forgetfulness.
Opposite– Superiority: self-absorbed self-aggrandizement.
Counterfeit– Inferiority: self-absorbed, self-consciousness.

9. Self-control
Definition– Ability to choose the urgent over the important thing.
Opposite– A driven, impulsive, uncontrolled person.
Counterfeit– Willpower through pride or through more “functional” idols.


1 Comment so far
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Usually, we hear about the fruit and the lack of fruit (the opposite), not the counterfeit. You have presented the third dimension to the fruit. I think the definition of the fruit, the opposite and the counterfeit correspond respectively to the believer, the pagan and the religious man in your famous shackled/unshackled diagram. Those three guys remind me of the good, the bad, the ugly.

I had a little difficulty with some of the meanings and opposites but that maybe because of what the original Greek word meant for words like goodness, kindness, etc.

Comment by Abey

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