The Fruit of the Spirit is listed in Paul’s letter to the Galatian church in chapter 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. The Fruit of the Spirit is the product of the work of Jesus Christ in the life of a believer. The Fruit works in our lives above and beyond our own abilities and is supernatural in its function and utilization in the life of a Christian.
This love is unconditional and powerful to overcome anything in the relationships of our lives. If we utilize the Fruit of love in our lives it will make every relationship in our lives better: spouse, children, grand-children, siblings, co-workers, neighbors, enemies, etc. Every single human relationship can benefit from the Fruit of love, but it is a choice to utilize the overcoming love that is a product of our life in Christ.
This joy has nothing to do with our circumstances and when we utilize this joy it shows the world that we can still be happy and pleasant even in the face of trials and tribulations. The Fruit of joy is a “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” expression of the inner work of Jesus in our lives.
The Fruit of peace, like the Fruit of joy, doesn’t get impacted by our situations. This peace is related to the Hebrew word shalom and doesn’t mean an absence of conflict or trouble but a calm in the midst of the storms of life. It is a peace that passes understanding of those who see it at work in our lives and sometimes we even surprise ourselves at how peaceful we see ourselves in spite of difficulties.
Patience is about being loving and kind when dealing with others who are troubling us by their actions that would normally exhaust our good attitudes. The Fruit of patience allows us to deal with people or situations that might otherwise set us off into a fit of rage. Patience is the ability to withstand frustrations with grace and love.
Kindness provides us with the proper attitude in our dealings with the unkind people around us. These relationships may be someone close to us or even a complete stranger; the relationship doesn’t matter but the heart of the Christian has the ability to be kind in the most challenging of situations because of the power of Holy Spirit working in our lives through faith.
Goodness is the Fruit that is revealed when we are faced with options and have to choose what is good and right according to the Bible. Like some of the other Fruit, it has to do with making choices with the benefit of others in mind. To do good without regard for ourselves with others good as the result of our actions or attitude toward them just because it is what is best.
Faithfulness is provided to help us intentionally overcome our tendency to be selfish and not concerning about anything or anyone outside of our own good. We live in a world that is “dog eat dog” and “look out for #1” in the way it operates and when the Holy Spirit helps us show others that we are reliable and not concerned about our own interests at the expense of others it is powerful.
The Fruit of gentleness brings the attitude that will prove to someone that Jesus is real in our lives and we hope they can experience something that makes them want to know Him too. Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 talks about “becoming all things to all people, that I might win some.” Gentleness reveals several of the other Fruit in implementation (patience, kindness and goodness, utilized in love and self-control) of the message of the Gospel lived out in the flesh and blood world we all live in.
Self-control speaks for itself, but as a Fruit or product of the life of a believer it is the mindset that makes all nine possible. It is our own choice, but the Spirit guides us to see options and choose what is best for the Kingdom of God at work in our lives.
Imagine a bookshelf with nine books, each book representing the Fruit of the Spirit. Love is in the first slot and self-control is on the other end-the seven in the middle all depend on love and self-control in order to be used properly. God has supplied us with all we need to make a difference in the world, but it needs to be intentional and done with the proper motivation to truly touch the world as He intends. Some people may not know what to do with a person who lives out the life in the Spirit that is possible, but the impact is revealed when someone strives to be alive in Christ because they witnessed it in you. Paul concluded his point to the Galatians about the Fruit of the Spirit with the admonition “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Walk on.