What Is the Fruit of the Spirit?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT)

In the above Psalm, David outlined a strategy for spiritual growth that is too often overlooked in our fast-paced culture. And please don’t misunderstand, this isn’t self-examination, that of which he speaks is God-examination. But if we’re not careful, we’ll not take the time to listen to what the Lord says to us.

This is not something we can crowd into our normal 10-15 minute “quiet time.” This is a half-day to a week-long journey with God, seeking through prayer and studying God’s Word; listening carefully to what the Spirit is saying. On some levels it’s a life-long journey.

As with any journey you need a map or guide. The Lord is showing me that the fruit of the Spirit can serve as a floodlight to our soul. Notice the Bible says “fruit,” not fruits. The same “plant” or person bears all this fruit as we grow in our knowledge of and devotion to Jesus.

Over the next few days, I’d like to let each aspect of the Holy Spirit’s fruit shine its light on our hearts and help us see more clearly our “anxious thoughts,” or anything else that might be offensive to the Lord. As Jesus followers, our goal and desire is to grow in ever increasing measure into the likeness of our Savior.

Before we go to the specific elements of the fruit of the Spirit, I strongly encourage you to read all of Galatians chapter 5 to get a sense of the contrast that Paul is painting between being led by our sinful nature and being led by God’s Holy Spirit. To profess to know and love Jesus and continue to follow the dictates of our sinful nature is a contradiction.

So, let’s turn to Galatians 5:22 to see the fruit of the Spirit of which Paul speaks. ”But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things.!”

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

Let’s begin with “love.” There are those, and I may be one of them, that believe love is the fruit, and each of the others are manifestations of love, but for our purposes, we’re just going to cover each of them separately. My prayer is that by doing it this way it will give us an opportunity to see where we’re doing well and where we’re not, so we know what to work on.

The word Paul uses for “love” is agape, which is used exclusively in the New Testament “to express that spiritual bond of love between God and man and between man and man, in Christ which is characteristic of Christianity.” (Strong’s) Unlike in the English language where we have only one word to describe many things we love, in the Greek language there are four distinct words used to describe different aspects of what we would think of as love.

Paul elaborates on what this word means in 1 Corinthians 13, where you’ll find some of the other words used in his list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians.

Love is who God is, not what He does. He cannot, NOT love, it would violate His divine nature. So it just seems natural that anyone who professes to be God’s follower would exhibit this vital characteristic in their life. So, let’s break it down and look at some practical applications of what love looks like.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4 Paul writes: “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.” How are you doing so far? 😊 He continues: “It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

We’ll dig in a little deeper in tomorrow’s post.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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