The scriptures say that people will know us by our fruit. So let me ask you, what sort of fruit are people seeing in you? Now, there are two kinds of fruit; one is good fruit, and the other is rotten fruit. One is produced by walking in the Spirit and the other by walking in the flesh.
When our focus is only on the things of the world, our fruits will tend to be those shown in Galatians 5:19-21 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[c] fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[d] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
On the other hand, if we walk in the Spirit with God, our fruits will be those described in Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
If you are reading this, I’m pretty sure your desire is for the fruits of the Spirit in your life. The works of the flesh are self-explanatory, and don’t really need elaboration. On the other hand, the fruits of the Spirit sometimes require some explanation. The original meaning is often different from how we use some of these words today.
- For instance, the first of the fruits listed in verse 22 is LOVE, which we tend to express as an emotion. In the fruits of the Spirit, the word transcribed as love is agape, which is better translated as charity or unconditional love. It’s the kind of love that God has for us that says I’m going to love you know matter what. It’s a love that is given without condition, and is not dependent on circumstances.
- The next fruit is JOY which we often equate with being really happy, but scripture teaches us that real joy is a confidence. It is that source of strength that comes from living for and in God. Real joy, just like real love is not just an emotional feeling, but a zeal that comes from a relationship with God. In that relationship, we don’t need circumstances to make us happy, we are happy in spite of circumstances.
- PEACE is another fruit of the Spirit. True peace, God’s peace, comes from an assurance that God is in our life, and has our back. We know that no matter what happens, in the end all will work out. It’s an unwavering confidence and serenity that keeps us on track no matter what life throws our way.
- Next is LONGSUFFERING which is another word for patience. Patience is being calm and at peace in all circumstances. Patience is not really about the ability to wait for something, as much as, it’s about how you act while waiting. Longsuffering is about not flying off the handle when that’s what you want to do.
- Then we have KINDNESS which is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. The spirit of kindness shows itself through our outward acts toward others. When we are able to take the focus off ourselves and genuinely want the best for others, we then show the kindness expressed in the fruits of the Spirit.
- GOODNESS is the act of being good. Having a spirit of goodness is expressed by having integrity, honesty and compassion toward all. It’s doing the right thing even when it isn’t expedient to do so. Goodness isn’t just about being nice; it’s an expression of Christ living through us.
- FAITHFULNESS is the act or quality of being faithful. Being faithful is being committed and unwavering in our loyalty. God is faithful to us by always being there for us. We are faithful toward God when we don’t let the things of the world come between us and God.
- GENTLENESS is a trait that shows a calmness and tenderness toward others. To be gentle is to be meek and lowly of spirit. At the same time, gentleness is not a sign of weakness, but of great strength of character. We’re told in scriptures to be wise as a serpent, but as gentle as a dove.
- To finish off the fruits of the Spirit, we have SELF-CONTROL which is the ability to control our reactions to people or situations. You exhibit self-control when you stay calm during stressful events. Self-control is the ability to control your impulses, and do what’s right rather than reactionary.
My hope in this post was just to touch on the basic meaning of each of the fruits, as a quick check of where we are in relation to them.
Sometime in the future I would like to expand upon each of the fruits, and talk more about how we can develop them with the help of God.
Let me know what you think.