But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. —Galatians 5:22–23
The fruit of the Spirit is a product of the Holy Spirit living within your spirit. He desires to reproduce in you the character of God, conforming you to the image of Christ, which is not an outer resemblance but an inward transformation of nature and character. (Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Colossians 3:9-13) The fruit of the spirit/Spirit develops as we obey the voice of the Holy Spirit within our spirit. He guides us, Scripture says, into all truth. He leads us to become like our heavenly Father, gracious, merciful, and longsuffering. Peter said we are partakers of the divine nature and that means we are to act in godly ways. (2 Peter 1:2-4) Since God forgives, we also forgive. Since God loves, we also love.
You Received the Holy Spirit at New Birth
The Holy Spirit came inside you at the moment of your new birth. (John 20:22) He resides within as a Comforter, Counselor, and Guide, directing you to be more patient, kind, and loving. (John 14:16, 26 AMP) His indwelling presence gives you power and ability to change the way you behave.
John the Baptist said, “Bring forth fruits meet for repentance.” (Matthew 3:8) It’s not the Spirit’s job to bring forth the fruit, it is our job to abide in the Vine so that we bring forth fruit. (John 15:5) The Holy Spirit cannot help unless we are willing to work with him. If we refuse to be patient, He will not force us to be patient. But whenever we determine in our hearts to be more patient, then He can help.
The World Lacks the Fruit of the Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit is needed everywhere in the world. Consider what the opposite of the fruit looks like. Love’s opposite is hate. Joy’s opposite is sorrow, sadness, depression, or despair. The opposite of peace is turmoil, conflict, strife, and war. The opposite of long-suffering is impatience, irritability, and quick temper. The opposite of kindness is hostility, indifference, and intolerance. The opposite of goodness is corruption, cruelty, dishonesty, and immorality. The opposite of faithfulness is unfaithfulness, disloyalty, and lack of commitment. The opposite of gentleness (or meekness) is rebellion, self-will, and independence from God. The opposite of self-control is lack of restraint, instability, and being out-of-control. These opposites of the fruit of the Spirit describe the worst parts of human nature.
But Jesus died to reconcile all men to God, so He could send the Holy Spirit and cause us to be born again, partake of the divine nature, and develop the fruit of the Spirit for the good of the human race. If all men matured in the fruit of the Spirit, the world would be a better place!
The Holy Spirit Models the Fruit of the Spirit
The Holy Spirit as a Person has all these characteristics in a mature form. He is love, He is joy, He is peace, He is patient and kind, and He lives inside you. Because He is in you, these characteristics are already in you. You do not need to pray for more love because infinite love lives in you. (Romans 5:5) You need God’s help to exercise the love you have. You do not need to pray for patience, for patience lives in you. Pray to practice the patience within you. Jesus said that we will be known by our fruit.
As Jesus’ followers, we are to be known by our love for one another. Nothing is more important than learning to express God’s love to those around us. When people experience the fruit of love flowing through us, they will be drawn to Jesus and willing to listen to what we have to say. But if what they see from so-called Christians is impatience, anger, pettiness, jealousy, dishonesty, and strife, then why would they want what we have? It’s the little choices we make throughout the day that display the fruit by our actions.
Fruit Must Be Grown
Fruit is something that must be grown and matured. Many trees have fruit, but if the fruit is not sweet, it is green, immature, and inedible. But when we feed ourselves the Word of God, attend church, and pray, the fruit of the Spirit grows and matures in us. We can tell the condition of our fruit when we are squeezed or tested. When you are put to the test, what comes out of you, something sweet or something sour? Is your fruit ripe or still green?
Works of the Flesh Stunt the Fruit
The works of the flesh oppose the fruit of the Spirit. Hatred, arguments, jealousy, fits of anger, selfish agendas, divisions, a party spirit, and envy stunt our growth in God. These things fight unity in the body of Christ and in the world. But when we operate in the fruit of the Spirit, we are team players and valuable wherever we are. To others the fruit is the test of our genuineness. Many people profess Christianity and preach to others, but their lives must pass the fruit test. Others are not impressed when what we say and what we do are inconsistent. The Holy Spirit wants our deeds to line up with our words. The tree is known by its fruit. Good fruit comes from good trees; bad fruit comes from bad trees. (Matthew 7:16-20)
The Fruit of Love
Jesus gave one commandment: to love one another as He loved us. (John 13:34-35, 15:12) The Bible says that the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5) We have the fruit of love in us.
You’ve no doubt eaten an orange and noticed this one kind of fruit has many segments. In a sense, the fruit of the Spirit is like an orange. The Lord called us to walk in love, but love, like an orange, has many segments. When we have the love of God in our hearts, we also have joy. When we have God’s love, we also have peace. When we have love, we are patient with others. When we have love, we will be kind and good. When we have love, we will be faithful, gentle, and meek. When we love others, we exercise self-control.
Some have observed that the first fruit listed, love, and the last fruit, self-control, work like bookends holding up the other fruit. If we have love and self-control, then being joyful and peaceful, patient and kind, good and faithful, and meek will fall into place.
The Lord once told me to work on two things, being patient and kind. Later I found that in the Word—love is patient, and love is kind. (1 Corinthians 13:4)
How to Walk in the Fruit of the Spirit
So how do we begin walking in the fruit of the Spirit? Act like you would if you already had the fruit of the Spirit. Act like you have patience by being patient. Act like you have love by walking in love. Act like you have joy by being joyful. Act like you have peace by living in peace. Act like you have self-control by controlling your impulses.
All the fruit were placed in you at new birth by the Holy Spirit. Some segments may be undeveloped and immature, but you still have them. When you exercise what you have, your fruit grows, matures, and sweetens.
Change who you think you are! Begin to say to yourself:
- I am a loving person.
- I am a joyful person.
- I am a peaceful person.
- I am a patient person.
- I am a kind person.
- I am a good person.
- I am a faithful person.
- I am a gentle person.
- I am a self-controlled person.