Galatians 5:19-24 (KJV)
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, jealousy, wrath, selfishness, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of which I tell you beforehand, as I have also told you in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
Very often in charismatic circles, good feelings or false proclamations of such feelings (“fake it ‘till you make it”) are considered fruit of the Spirit. Or, spiritual manifestations or experiences are considered to be fruit of the Spirit. Or, supernatural powers and gifts are considered to be fruit. Or, a westernized view on success is considered to be fruit of the Spirit. Even the results of their work, especially work they consider to be done for God, is very often considered fruit of the Spirit. But this is not a Biblical view on what the fruit of the Holy Spirit is.
People often look at outward appearances and assume “if it looks good, then it is good.” However, this also is not a Biblical view on what the fruit of the Holy Spirit is.
There is also a tendency to be “works focused.” We try really hard to do all the right things, and try really hard to not do the wrong things, and if we manage to do the right thing, we believe this is evidence of God’s work in our lives — fruit. But even if we manage to mostly do and say the right things, and even if we mostly manage to not say or do the wrong things, this is not a Biblical view of what the fruit of the Holy Spirit is, either.
A. Fruit of the Spirit
Aside from botanical or biological definitions, fruit is defined as: the effect or consequence of an action or operation. Synonyms: product, result.1
The Bible defines fruit as “a result or gain.”2
To put it simply, fruit is not what we do, but the effects or results of what we do. When we work or expend our efforts, there is a result, either for better or for worse.
The fruit of laboring out of our own abilities, either physically or spiritually, isn’t fruit of the Holy Spirit, even though the results may be good. This is the fruit of human labors.
If we are laboring with the Holy Spirit, the fruit of our labor will bring good results (fruit), and not inconsistent or bad results. And although the good result of our Godly labor is not the “fruit of the Spirit” spoken of in Galatians 5, it can come as a result of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
To put it simply, the fruit of the Holy Spirit comes as a result of His work, and when the Spirit of God works and expends His efforts in our lives — when He expands His influence in our hearts — there is always good results.
When the Holy Spirit works inside of us, the effect or result (the fruit) is described in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This fruit is a result of the work of the Holy Spirit and is evidence that He is working in our lives. If we follow after and walk in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit will produce His fruit in our lives, and we will reap eternal life; but if we follow after and walk in the flesh, we will produce unholy fruit, and we will reap destruction. (Romans 8:13-14; Galatians 6:8)
The fruit of the Spirit has nothing to do with material possessions or worldly success.
The fruit of the Spirit doesn’t fade away after an emotionally-charged church service or sermon is over.
The fruit of the Spirit has nothing to do with human emotions that are prone to fluctuations and dependent upon circumstances.
The fruit of the Spirit does not bring peace and joy to someone one day, and a nervous breakdown the next day. At the least, this is evidence of the poor or useless work of human efforts, and may also be evidence of the work of an unholy spirit.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is lasting. It is not a singular work that instantly transforms us into His likeness. But rather, the effect of His Spirit working within our hearts grows and multiplies, bringing spiritual maturity and wisdom over time. It is a continuous effect, manifesting not in the mask we wear, or the façade we hide behind, or the religious programming scripts we parrot, but in our very state of being. It is genuine, and not a “fake it ‘till we make it” attitude. The fruit of the Holy Spirit — the result of His work in our hearts — brings us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This, in turn, affects every aspect of our lives, and we produce good works, and those works produce good fruit.
Question: Is it wrong for us to try to do the right thing? How do we avoid the bad and do the good?
Answer: It is a matter of focus. By ourselves, we are not righteous, and if our focus is on our own works (avoiding the bad and doing the good), although we might be a “good” person by most worldly standards, it is still not the righteousness of God.
Many of us find ourselves trying to overcome the flesh on our own and trying to produce good fruit on our own, but this is a useless endeavor, because none of us are righteous on our own merit (Romans 3:10). Since the focus is on our works, rather than on our Heavenly Father, either we get puffed up with pride in what we consider to be our own good fruit, or we begin to fail and lose heart because our fruit is bad. This can be particularly true of those who are stuck in cycles of self-destructive behaviors and addictions. Paul spoke to the frustration of this struggle in Romans 7:15 — “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do.” (BSB)
But when the Holy Spirit works in us, the effect of His work is positive, and because He changes and transforms our heart, we end up doing the right thing after all: producing good works, and those good works producing good fruit. By focusing on our relationship with our Heavenly Father, submitting to His will, and walking in obedience to Him through following the example of Jesus Christ, His Spirit produces the good fruit in our lives. It is no longer our effort to produce good fruit, but His work that is producing the good fruit, and His work that continues to produce good fruit.
John 15:5 — “I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” (BSB)
B. Fruit of the Unholy Spirits
Spiritually speaking, there is also rotten or lying fruit — fruit of the unholy spirits. Living by the flesh (as opposed to living by the Spirit of God) will cause us to reap destruction, and this is evidence of the unholy fruit that results from living by the flesh. 2 Peter chapter 2 offers a vivid description of this.
So what are the works of the flesh? Galatians 5:19-21 is one passage that gives a short list of the works of the flesh:
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and sorcery; hatred, discord, jealousy, and rage; rivalries, divisions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (BSB)
(See also Matthew 15:19, Colossians 3:5, Revelation 21:8, and Revelation 22:15.)
Romans 6:20-23 tells us what happens when we live by the flesh and are slaves to sin:
“For when you were slaves to sin, you were free of obligation to righteousness. What fruit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? The outcome of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the fruit you reap leads to holiness, and the outcome is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (BSB)
While the phrase “fruit of the unholy spirits” does not explicitly appear in the Bible, the concept is spoken of throughout, and it is probably safe to assume the opposite of the fruit of the Holy Spirit can be attributed to the fruit of the unholy spirits. Instead of love, there is hate or apathy; depression instead of joy; anxiety and conflict instead of peace; short-temperedness rather than long-suffering; brutality instead of gentleness; evilness and selfishness instead of goodness; unbelief and fear instead of faith; haughtiness and arrogance instead of meekness; indulgence and excessiveness rather than temperance.
However, here are some scriptures that speak to specific results (fruit) that come from the demonic:
● Loss, death, and destruction (steals, kills, and destroys). (John 10:10)
● Causes people to be in a worse condition than they were before. (Matthew 12:43-45)
● Self-destruction and insanity. (Mark 5:1-20)
● Causes people to turn against God. (example: Judas)
● Causes deception and denies Jesus Christ. (2 John 1:7)
● Illness. (Matthew 9:32; Matthew 12:22; Acts 8:7)
● Unholy gifts. (Acts 16:16-18)
Ultimately, however, the unholy fruit that comes about by living in and following after the flesh is spiritual and eternal death. (Romans 6:20-23; Romans 8:13)
C. Common Effects (Fruit) of Practicing Witchcraft
Sometimes the rotten or fake fruit of the Christian witch within the charismatic movement is obvious; many times it is not, at least not to those who are not within the “inner circles.” What is common, however, is that because this charismatic movement is egocentric (self-centered and not God-centered), a spirit of jealousy and competition runs through these Christian witchcraft groups. While often a Christian mask of humility is worn for public purposes, pride, ego, and a narcissistic controlling spirit are prevalent. As a result, people are often stepped on or stepped over, in an effort to reach the top. In public view, the people in these groups can (but not always) appear to be kind and loving to others within and outside their inner circle, but it’s not uncommon to privately share contempt and ridicule for those outside their inner circle, or for those who are in the group, but don’t fit in well.
Sexual deviancy of various types is usually widespread (such as lust, astral sex, extra-marital relationships, pornography, and the like), but often hidden and/or ignored. Violent displays of temper can also be common, but usually behind closed doors, where only family or close friends can see, and depression is a common problem for many. This depression can be masked behind greed (such as, greed for money, power, and influence), or in an indulgence of the sensual appetites, particularly food, drink, and sex (in the physical or in the astral). Gossiping, lying, and slander are also common problems.
■ A Spiritual Drug and a Spiritual High
In spite of this, sometimes those practicing “Christian witchcraft” feel little to no negative side-effects while they are practicing. Why? Because sometimes Satan, his fallen angels, and the demons want to keep their human hosts happy. This ensures the human host will be in continued agreement with the demonic, allowing themselves to be used by his (Satan’s) members. So there are not always negative side-effects felt. At least not while they are being used by the demonic. As soon as the demonic are finished with the human host, however, the negative effects will come flooding in. However, during the process of being used, it’s not unusual for positive feelings to be more prevalent.
The process by which Satan and his members control their human hosts is detailed as follows:3
● The demonic entities using the human (also known as a vehicle) have a spiritual cord attached to the human, giving them access to the whole person, spiritual and physical, including the ability to manipulate the nervous system and the endocrine system.
● Through that cord they transfer a type of spiritual energy that affects the human’s neurotransmitters, impacting them in the same way it would if they were to take a physical drug that altered their brain chemistry.
● Satan’s members then have the ability to artificially boost a person’s mental and emotional state, causing the brain to release a type of opiate that makes them feel positive and good. People can mistake these positive emotions as something spiritually positive, and be encouraged to continue down the path that the influencing entities are leading them down.
● The entities using that human can also use the brain connection to affect their human negatively when they are moving off course. The person will notice an undesirable difference in feeling, encouraging them to avoid the things which the influencing entities want them to avoid. This negative reinforcement works the same way the positive reinforcement does, and keeps them on the path the influencing entities desire them to go.
So while a select group of people appear to prosper, seem to be happy and blessed, and come across as people who “have it all,” at least from a westernized or humanistic point of view, God looks at the heart. There are always negative effects from practicing witchcraft, and while some seem to have it good in this life, they will reap the consequences in eternity. Furthermore, while the individual themselves may not appear to reap any negative consequences in this life by our human standards, it is certainly passed on to their children and grandchildren, because the spirit of witchcraft attaches itself to family members throughout the generations.
The majority of people practicing witchcraft, however — whether black or white magic, or Christian or non-Christian witchcraft — eventually reap serious consequences in this lifetime as the fruit of the unholy spirits become evident in their lives. But if any negative effects are felt, they are often mistakenly passed off as a demonic attack because they are doing what is right. Or they are ignored as being something that, while scary, is normal because it “happens to everyone.”
For instance, one common problem people experience is “sleep paralysis,” and although this is usually ignored or excused away somehow, this can be one indication that the individual or their family is operating out of a spirit of witchcraft, either purposefully or unintentionally, or has somehow been infected by a spirit of witchcraft, perhaps without even knowing (such as generational ties that were never repented of and broken). The same can be true of night terrors, and although there can be other reasons why night terrors are occurring (such as unresolved trauma), this kind of harassment can sometimes originate from the demonic, and occurs because the person or their family is operating under a spirit of witchcraft.4
■ Subtractions and Transferences
Subtractions and transferences5 will always take place when one practices witchcraft, but they can be easy to pass off as a naturally-occurring events.
Subtractions are things that are taken away from the individual as a result of practicing witchcraft and can include things such as:
1. Constant money troubles, in spite of hard work and wise investment.
2. Possessions constantly breaking down, being stolen, or lost, in spite of care.
3. Constant physical illness, in spite of taking care of self.
4. Constant accidents, bringing injury to self or destruction of property.
5. Constant strife within the home, tearing apart relationships.
Transferences occur in two different ways:
1. When the individual gets what they desire, yet tragedy personally strikes them elsewhere. For example:
a. The individual may receive a demonic healing, but they unexpectedly lose a lot of money.
b. The individual may receive a promotion at work or what seems to be a better job, but their physical or mental health begins to rapidly decline.
c. The individual may receive a windfall of money, but their marriage deteriorates.
2. Or, when there are no seemingly bad effects to the individual, but their family members are beset by tragedy or misfortune. For example:
a. The individual feels fine, but family members or loved ones begin suffering physical illness, in spite of taking care of self.
b. The individual is seemingly doing well, but family members begin to be injured in bizarre accidents.
In and of themselves, these things are not necessarily indicative of someone practicing witchcraft. There are many examples of Godly men and women suffering Satanic and human persecution, in spite of doing the right thing. Likewise, there are many instances where people suffer the consequences of their own human mistakes or bad judgement, or the mistakes and bad judgement of others around them. There are also accidents that happen or tragedy that strikes, because life is full of strife. However, the charismatic witch will suffer these things as a result of practicing witchcraft, and it’s often a relentless suffering, with one negative thing after another happening to them or their family members.6
Kurt Koch, in his book “Demonology Past and Present: Identifying and Overcoming Demonic Strongholds,” states that through his experience in counseling and treating people medically, he was able to pinpoint five particular areas in people’s lives that can be affected from being involved in occult activities:7
1. A person’s faith in God is negatively influenced.
2. There are huge negative changes in a person’s character.
3. The person will often suffer from mental or psychical illnesses, such as depression, suicidal thoughts, et cetera.
4. The mental health of the person suffers greatly through psychoses.
5. It begins (or continues) a cycle of “hereditable mediumism,” whereby the involvement of witchcraft leads one’s children and grandchildren to be negatively impacted down to three or four generations.
In his book “Occult ABC: Exposing Occult Practices and Ideologies,” Koch speaks of transferences by noting the following:8
“Families in which charming is practiced, whether actively or as a patient, are literally pursued by misfortune. Suicide, murder, serious and incurable diseases, and many other troubles abound in such families.” (page 135)
“In counseling I have occasionally found the following pattern. When one member of a family has been delivered from demon possession or a serious occult oppression, another member of the family sometimes comes under the power of the same spirit. This only happens in those cases where the whole family does not place itself under the protection of Jesus Christ.” (page 137)
Such is the fruit of the unholy spirits: while there may be short-term “good feelings,” in the end there is destruction.