Fruit of the Spirit – Part 1
“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Reading in Galatians, you may have thought there was a tense problem in the verse “…the fruit of the Spirit is…” because Paul goes on to list 9 virtues of the Fruit of the Spirit. So why did Paul not call these 9 characteristics the fruits of the Spirit?
The fruit of the spirit is a single gift from God. He gives you this fruit as a complete package because you believe in Jesus Christ. You have all 9 of these virtues in you through the Spirit. It is not by your own works that you have them (though it may be that you need to encourage the growth or manifestation of one or more of the virtues) but because as a Christian you have God’s Spirit within you and consequently you bear His fruit. All of these characteristics are tied to Jesus’ answer to a question from one of the teachers of the law who asked him “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus answered “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Mark 12:28, 30) How does this tie to the Fruit of the Spirit? Love is the key to the Fruit of the Spirit. Without love can you be joy-filled? Can you exhibit peace or patience? Without love will you be kind and gentle and faithful? And finally, without loving God and your neighbor can you have self-control, the virtue that makes you turn you back on your own selfish desires?
Triune God, You have blessed me with Your Spirit’s Fruit, now show me how I can manifest that fruit so others can see You through me. Amen