“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.” – Galatians 5:22-23
The fruit of the Spirit means the characters the Spirit of God has supplied in us. This fruit is what people can see about you as the Bible says “by their fruit, you shall know them.” These fruits are proof of your new life! What do they mean actually?
1. Love means accepting others and meaning good for them. It isn’t a feeling like we see in the dictionary and we can love people when we don’t even feel like loving them. All the fruits of the Spirit are summarized in one word “LOVE” and the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:13 “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
2. Joy is exceeding happiness that comes from the Holy Spirit even if we experience things that would have naturally stolen our joy. God fills our hearts continually with joy because we believe. The Bible says in Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
3. Peace that comes from God is beyond human understanding. This means that people would be wondering why you are so peaceful even in the midst of violence. Concerning this peace, the Bible says it will guide our hearts! This peace is a guide and where others find reasons to be disturbed and irritated, we a shielded from it. The Bible says in Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
4. Forbearance includes being patient, slow to anger and self-controlled. The Spirit of God constrains us to be at peace with all men and seek good for them. Because we have the Holy Spirit in us, we can tolerate others including people who do not believe in the same thing with us. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:2 “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,”
5. Kindness means that we are given to charity. We support the helpless, allow people to cry on our shoulders and do all we can to be a source of hope to people. Where there is no kindness, we may not truly forgive people of their wrongs. You are the one to allow that kindness flow. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
6. Goodness means being morally sound. If we are born of the Spirit, we are moral and we don’t live like those who are lawless. Although people could be moral without having to believe the gospel, our morality is powered by our love for God and others! We leave society better than we met it.
The Bible says in Matthew 5:15-16 “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
7. We are faithful to God, faithful to our marriage and relationships, faithful to other people regardless of their gender, age, colour and so on. We are faithful in loving God and man. We have two duties on earth and the first is to dress it (Genesis 2:15) and make it better, the second is to reconcile men to God! (2 Corinthians 5:18). In this two, we ought to be faithful!
8. Finally, we are not quick to respond to people’s insults! We are not quick to let our emotions boil… We smile over things that would have made us angry. That people hate you and insult you is not enough reason to hate them because you know better than them.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:9 “Don’t be hateful and insult people just because they are hateful and insult you. Instead, treat everyone with kindness. You are God’s chosen ones, and he will bless you.”
And the Bible says that against these things, there isn’t any law stopping us from doing them. It doesn’t happen automatic because we are born again. As believers in Christ Jesus, the Spirit of God is in us and have enabled us to express these fruits. Now, it is we who decide to live it out.
The Bible says in Philippians 2:12 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,”
Now it is important to note that God isn’t asking us to work for our salvation but to work out the salvation we already have. It means that we should bring out the fruits of our salvation for people to see. New Living Translation puts it this way “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”
Do you see that? The Bible says we should work hard to show the result of our salvation. Now, if you graduated as a medical doctor, you can only convince us by practising it. Your education will be of no benefit if it is not been applied in real-life experiences. Therefore, we can’t say we are not new creations and we go ahead living careless and immoral lives or go ahead hating people and being extremely angry! We simply go ahead and show Jesus to the world by the way we live.
Concerning this, Paul instructed in Ephesians 4:22-24 “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
We have received a new life and therefore we shouldn’t live like just anybody but like God would have us live. Our new life is designed after God’s true righteousness and holiness. We are simply holy and we ought to live it out.
There is something important about this. The Bible says we should be renewed in the Spirit of our minds. Do you know the meaning of this? It means that our minds still have memories of the past, it still desires mundane things and can be given to lust if we allow it but when we keep glorifying God’s word in our minds and making it our focus, we will keep suppressing the flesh.
You’ve got amazing fruits in your Spirit! Live it out!