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Have you heard of the fruit of the spirit?
The fruit of the Spirit is a concept that comes from Galatians 5. It reads, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control,”(Galatians 5:22-23 ESV).
The Spirit is referring to the Holy Spirit that dwells within every believer. The fruit is referring to what is produced from the Spirit. As a believer, you should be producing these attributes of the Spirit.
If you’d like to learn more about the fruit of the Spirit, keep reading. You’ll learn what the fruit of the spirit is and how these attributes may manifest in your life.
What is the purpose of the fruit of the spirit?
The purpose of this passage is to differentiate those who live according to the spirit versus those who live according to the flesh.
Let’s read the passage in its context:
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other,” (Galatians 5:19-26 NIV).
If you’re in Christ, you will no longer live according to the acts of the flesh. Instead, you will live according to the fruit of the Spirit.
How many fruits of the Spirit?
According to the Bible, there are 9 fruits of the Spirit. These are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The Fruit of the Spirit
The fruit of the spirit are the acts according to the Holy Spirit. These attributes will be displayed in your life if you’re a genuine believer.
Let’s take a deeper look at the fruit of the Spirit and define them biblically.
The first on the list is love. Many believe they know what love is. They would say love is a feeling and something that’s uncontrollable. A common phrase I hear is, “the heart wants what the heart wants”.
Biblical love is completely different. Let’s take a look at a passage in 1 Corinthians 13.
It reads, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres,” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV).
Love is a choice that is characterized by these attributes listed above. God is the best example of love because he is love (1 John 4:8). In Romans, it states, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8 NIV).
God didn’t love us because it made him feel good. We didn’t do anything to deserve his love, but he poured out his love onto us anyway. Do you love like this?
The second fruit of the spirit is joy. Many equate joy as being happy about material gain and circumstances. The Bible speaks of joy differently.
After the apostles were persecuted for their faith, they were filled with joy. It reads, “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name,” (Acts 5:41 ESV).
Naturally, this doesn’t make sense to us. Why would you rejoice over being persecuted? This is a different kind of joy. A joy that only comes from the Lord.
The third fruit of the spirit is peace. Many people long for peace but don’t have it. They’re anxious and worried about their life circumstances. The Bible speaks about a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7 NIV).
The most important peace you can have is peace with God. Are you right with God today? God initiated peace with us by sending his Son to live a perfect and holy life, die on the cross for our sins, and rise from the dead three days later. Anyone who believes in this and repents of their sins will be saved.
Being made right with God ensures your salvation and will give you peace.
The fourth fruit of the spirit is forbearance, otherwise known as patience. Naturally, we are not patient, especially in the modern world. Everything is available to us so quickly and we want immediate results.
The Bible says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up,” (Galatians 6:9 ESV).
Patience shows you trust in God. You trust he has everything under control. A lack of patience shows you don’t trust his timing.
The fifth fruit of the spirit is kindness. Kindness is not just being kind to those who are kind to you. It’s being kind to your enemies. This is hard to do without the help of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” (Matthew 5:43-48 NIV).
The sixth fruit of the spirit is goodness. To have goodness means to be moral and upright in deed and character. This isn’t something humans can manufacture on their own.
The Bible tells us, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one,” (Romans 3:10-12 ESV).
We are not good people on our own. The Holy Spirit empowers us to be good and do good works (Ephesians 2:10).
The seventh fruit of the spirit is faithfulness. To have faithfulness means to believe in what the Bible reveals to us about God.
The Bible says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV).
We cannot have faith without God. He is the initiator of our faith (John 14:6, John 6:44).
The eighth fruit of the spirit is gentleness. Gentleness can also be translated as meekness. Having a spirit of gentleness is about our behavior toward others. Being quick to anger, harboring resentfulness, or bitterness is the opposite of gentleness.
The Bible says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV) and “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones,” (Proverbs 16:24 NIV).
The ninth and final fruit of the spirit is self control. Self control is being able to control yourself. An example of self control is when Jesus practiced it while fasting in the wilderness. He was tempted by the devil but had the self restraint to say no to the temptations presented to him (Matthew 4).
Can nonbelievers exhibit the fruits of the Spirit?
Nonbelievers will not exhibit the fruits of the Spirit. It isn’t of ourselves that we’re able to demonstrate these attributes, but through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers us to live according to God’s precepts (not perfectly of course).
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