Since you have become a Christian, you may have heard the term 'bear fruit.' You may be wondering what kind of fruit we are supposed to produce and how exactly do we bear this fruit? Galatians 5:22-23 tells us what fruit it is we should be producing, but earlier in the chapter Paul gives us a list of the things that the flesh desires, which are opposite traits of what the Spirit creates within us. Let's take a look at both lists.
"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
Can you see the differences in how we should be living once we have the Spirit living within us? Paul calls these characteristics fruit because the fruit is grown naturally and when the Spirit resides in us His fruit is naturally produced as well.
Love- It is entirely fitting that love is the first thing to be listed. Love encompasses all we are as Christ-followers. God is love, and if He is within us, we MUST be loving too! (See also1 Corinthians 13)
"Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14
"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8
"And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." Colossians 3:14
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
Joy- Cheerfulness in knowing God and having a relationship with Him. Praising Him and rejoicing for all He has done for us.
"Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:2
"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy," 1 Peter 1:8
Peace- Having peace with God and trying our best to live in harmony with others. Not fighting with those we disagree with, but overcoming evil with good.
"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1
"And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." James 3:18
Patience (Long-Suffering)- This is not patience in things taking a long time or not getting frustrated with people or circumstances. This is patience or endurance during persecution and trials. It means not being quick to get revenge or let anger rule in our hearts, but knowing that God will see us through all of our trials and suffering.
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."
Kindness/Goodness- These two are very closely related. To be kind is to have a kind heart and to think often of others and their needs. Goodness is this plus being generous to others.
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:32
"And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them." Luke 6:31
"So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." Galatians 6:10
Faithfulness- To be a person of your word. To do what you say you will do and to be honest in your dealings with others. It may also mean to have faith in other people, to believe that others have the best intentions.
"One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much." Luke 16:10
Gentleness- To be gentle means that we are not harsh, rude or demeaning, but have an even temper and are calm during most circumstances. To see people as loved by God and treat them that way.
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1
"To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people." Titus 3:2
Self-Control- This one is pretty self-explanatory. We have self-control when instead of doing what our flesh desires, we stop ourselves and do what the Spirit would have us do.
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13
"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7
Let's pray that the Spirit would grow these things in our lives!