As you think about the presence of spiritual fruit in your life, consider the following definitions of the various aspects of the fruit mentioned in Galatians 5. Is this the kind of fruit that is being produced in your life?
- LOVE DEFINED: “Love is the commitment of my will and affections to your needs and best interests, regardless of the cost to me.” Cf. also 1 Cor. 13; Jn. 13:24; 1 Jn. 4:19-21.
- JOY DEFINED: “Joy is an emotion that is evoked by remembering God and His work and by the confident expectation that God will act to deliver when troubles come.”… “[it is] the inevitable product of faith and trust.” Cf. also Js. 1:2-4; 1 Thess. 5:16; 1 Pt. 1:6-9; Phil. 1:18, 25; 2:2, 17-18, 29; 3:1; 4:1, 4.
- PEACE DEFINED: Peace is a sense of contentment and trust within our hearts, regardless of the circumstances of our world. It is derived from the perspective that God is in control of the events of our lives. Cf. also John 14:27; Ephesians 2:14-18; Rom. 5:1; Phil. 4:9.
- PATIENCE DEFINED: “Patience is more than just enduring the passage of time; it is a calm endurance based on the certain knowledge that God is in control.” Cf. also Js. 5:7-9; 1 Tim. 1:16; Ps. 37:7.
- KINDNESS DEFINED: “Kindness is a generous disposition to my neighbor that demonstrates itself in tenderness and good deeds.” Cf. also Rom. 2:4; 3:12; Eph. 2:7.
- GOODNESS DEFINED: “To be good Biblically is not just to be morally good (i.e., doing what is “right”), but to be kind and generous towards men.” Cf. also Prov. 19:8; Rom. 15:14.
- FAITHFULNESS DEFINED: “Faith is trust. It means far more than believing in God. It means believing God… with our lives. But the fruit of faith involves more than trust. It means that we become trustworthy.” [Sproul, The Mystery of the Holy Spirit, p. 174.] Cf. also 1 Thess. 5:24; 2 Tim. 2:11-13; Rom. 10:17.
- GENTLENESS DEFINED: “Gentleness is not weakness; rather, it is strength under control — strength that is used at the right time in the right way.” Cf. also Matt. 5:5; 1 Pet. 2:21-23.
- SELF-CONTROL DEFINED: G. K. Chesterton once wrote, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” Self-control and self-discipline is that spiritual empowerment to continue even when the circumstances are difficult. It is the imposition of a God-revealed will on some urge. Cf. also Col. 2:5; 1 Tim. 4:7-8; 2 Tim. 1:7.
In response to these questions, here are a few questions for self-examination:
- As you consider these qualities of the fruit of the Spirit, can you say that your life is increasingly being characterized by them? What would your spouse say? Your children? Your best friend?
- Is your character “environmentally sensitive?” That is, do you lose your peace and joy when circumstances shift? How long is it before you get them back?
- Which of the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit would you most like to see the Holy Spirit produce in your life (or what characteristic is most needful in your life)? Would you be willing to pray, asking God to do produce that in you and through you?