But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
When we accept Jesus as Saviour, the Holy Spirit comes to us. When we receive the Holy Spirit, it is to help change and conform us to the image of Jesus.
The fruit of the Spirit is totally different than that of the works of the flesh. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
The list of the flesh is longer than the list of the Holy Spirit. It is to show that the flesh reflects just how sinful we are. God warned us that if we continue to do these things, we will not see Heaven. Our desire as Christians should be to follow the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our walk with the Lord. We are to listen to the Holy Spirit every day of our lives. By doing so, we can conquer our sinful nature. This will allow the Holy Spirit to move more freely in our lives.
The fruit is what God wants us to follow. This will show others that God is working in our lives. Our Christian walk will grow when we follow what God has outlined in scripture.
The fruit of the Spirit is explained this way.
- Love: When we love someone, it is more than a feeling, it is a choice. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous [burdensome]” (1 John 5:3). It is because of God’s love that His plan for salvation was carried out by Jesus.
- Joy: “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke: 15:7). We can only imagine the joy that took place when you and I repented of our sins and accepted Jesus as our Saviour. Nothing on earth can compare to the joy that goes on in Heaven when this happens. “Jesus said, These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11). Another meaning for joy is JESUS first, others second, and you last. We tend to forget in which order things go.
- Peace: Our natural being does not want peace. We were born at war with God. We entered this world a sinner because this world is sinful. However, we can know peace. Our peace comes through knowing Jesus and accepting Him as Saviour. “Jesus said, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Until Jesus comes back for us, there is not going to be a true peace. Our peace will come when we are taken to Heaven to be with the Lord.
- Patience: This is a subject we all have a problem with. It is hard to have patience in a world that is dog-eat-dog. We want it now, not later. When we lose patience, it is a sign of weakness. The flesh is weak, and it can cause us to fall. Therefore, it is important for us to listen to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to help us to remain calm and have patience in our lives. When we are patient, it will allow God to work in us. Let God be God.
- Kindness: When we show kindness, we are tender and can be useful to others. When we speak, it should be with kindness. Jesus used kindness on many occasions. He cast out demons, raised people from the dead, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind. Most of all He rescued us from sin when He died on the cross. All of this was to bring us closer to Him.
- Faithfulness is our allegiance to God. It requires us to believe in God’s Word and to faithfully present it to others. The Bible is full of faithful people. Noah, for example, trusted God when he was told about the impending judgment. Moses was faithful when he was told to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. God will reward us when we seek Him. We also learn to have faith even when God is silent. We have faith in God even though we have not seen Him. We have faith in the Holy Spirit when He instructs us and tells us that God and Jesus are real.
- Goodness is the work that the Holy Spirit does in and through us. His work when we allow it, will change our way of thinking and our character. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). We are blessed when we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us. When we let others see our goodness it will be a blessing. It will show them we are a child of God.
- Gentleness: God wants us to give Him control over our lives. The opposite of gentleness is overbearing, rough, and mean. At one time, we all fell into that category. We need to be more humble in our daily walk. When we do, it will show people that we can be gentle when we are presenting the gospel to them. Jesus was gentle when He spoke to people about God. There are times that we need to be fiery, just as Jesus was on occasion. True gentleness needs to be used when we are leading people to the Lord. The Lord offers all of us the gift of gentleness; all we must do is accept it.
- Meekness: Restraint, it can mean that we can be angry when we need to be and submissive when we need to be. In 1 Peter 3:15 we read, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” This doesn’t mean that we are to let people berate us. We are to stand our ground when we need to, but be meek and still get our point across. Jesus was meek when He needed to be, but He stood His ground when He cleaned out the temple.
- Temperance is self-control over everything that we do. It is part of our Christian race. In 1 Corinthians 9:25 we read, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
I have given a short overview of the fruits. I encourage you to take the time and study each one for yourselves. Pray and ask God to help you to understand the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Once you begin to understand what they mean, it will help you with your walk with the Lord. Practice each one of them. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Nothing is preventing you from enjoying these fruits. If you need Jesus in your life, pray to Him and ask Him to forgive you of your sins. Once you do this the Holy Spirit will come and reside in you.