“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Gal. 5:22-23
- Love, Joy and Peace focus on your relationship with God.
- Longsuffering, Gentleness and Goodness focus on your relationship with others.
- Faith, Meekness and Temperance focus directly on the individual.
LOVE – The spiritual fruit of love is not just a feeling or an emotion, but rather it is a decision. This fruit of the Spirit causes us to make decisions to love even when we don’t feel like it. Paul writes in Philippians 1:9 “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more.” The word abound means “to grow.” When we walk in the love of God, everything else will fall into place.
JOY – Joy is defined as cheerfulness or calm delight. Joy has nothing to do with your emotions. Joy is is the fruit of the Spirit that gives strength in face of adversity. The Psalmist and the Prophet Isaiah both refer to it as the joy of salvation. (Psalm 51:12; Isaiah 12:3 Nehemiah 8:10).
PEACE – Peace must be maintained in three important relationships:
- Peace with God. We maintain peace with God by believing and trusting Him.
- Peace with our fellow man. We maintain peace with our fellow man by not allowing strife to be a part of our relationships with other people.
- Peace with ourselves. We maintain peace with ourselves by refusing to live in guilt or condemnation thus recognizing that God is greater than all of our sins.
GENTLENESS – Gentleness is a quality that makes you great in the eyes of God (11 Sam. 22:36) and the Apostle Paul illustrates gentleness by example of a mother nourishing her children (I Thess. 2:7)
GOODNESS – Goodness is holiness put into practice and results from knowing God. Goodness enables you to love God and hate evil.
LONG SUFFERING – Long suffering is love on trial. It is patience that enables you to forbear and forgive others. The real test of patience is not in waiting, but in how you act while you are waiting.
TEMPERANCE – Temperance means self-control. It is control over the whole man (spirit, soul, and body) which enables us to live a victorious life. A person who has self-control is mild and calm, avoids extreme behavior, and exercises self-restraint in both actions and speech. Although restraint and self-control aren’t easy, they are necessary if one ever wants to operate in the fruit of the Spirit.
MEEKNESS – Meekness is not “weakness”, but rather a controlled strength or slave-like submission to God. Meekness or humility is defined as “freedom from pride and arrogance; modest estimation of our own worth.” Humility or meekness is the opposite of pride. The Bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, and it is the meek which will inherit the earth.
FAITH – Faith is a gift and also a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit. The gift of faith is imparted from God through the Word, but the fruit of faith is produced by the Holy Spirit. The gift of faith can move mountains, but the fruit of faith is what is required for daily living. The fruit of faith enables us to walk and live by faith. Without this kind of faith, it is impossible to please God.