Dallas Willard (1935-2013) wrote,
“Only avid discipleship to Christ through the Spirit brings the inward transformation of thought, feeling, and character that “cleans the inside of the cup” (Matthew 23:25) and “makes the tree good” (Matthew 12:33). As we study with Jesus we increasingly become on the inside—with the “Father who is in secret” (Matthew 6:6)—exactly what we are on the outside, where actions and moods and attitudes visibly play over our body, alive in its social context.
An amazing simplicity will take over our lives—a simplicity that is really just transparency.
This requires a long and careful learning from Jesus to remove the duplicity that has become second nature to us—as is perhaps inevitable in a world where, to “manage” our relations to those around us, we must hide what we really think, feel, and would like to do, if only we could avoid observation. Thus, a part of Jesus’s teaching was to “avoid the leaven, or permeating spirit, of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1).
The Pharisees were in many respects the very best people of Jesus’s day. But they located goodness in behavior and tried to secure themselves by careful management at the behavioral level. However, that simply cannot be done. Behavior is driven by the hidden or secret dimension of human personality, from the depths of the soul and body, and what is present there will escape. Hence, the Pharisee always fails at some point to do what is right, and then must redefine, re-describe, or explain it away—or simply hide it.
In contrast, the fruit of the spirit, as described by Jesus, Paul, and other biblical writers, does not consist in actions, but in attitudes or settled personality traits that make up the substance of the “hidden” self, the “inner man.” “Love” captures this fruit in one word, but does so in such a concentrated form that it needs to be spelled out. Thus, the “fruit [singular] of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22).”
“I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.” Jesus