This article is by Kirsten and published by Christian Faith Living
But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
When compared to the acts of the flesh discussed in the verses 19-22 of Galatians, the fruit of the spirit seems to contain the polar opposite in its qualities: love over hatred, joy over rage, self-control over drunkenness, etc.
It talks about how the flesh is in an eternal conflict with the spirit, and how the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God. Therefore, we can ascertain from this that the acts of the flesh are un-Godly or unholy, motivated only by earthly desires, greed, and evil as opposed to the fruits of the spirit, which are motivated by God and all that is good.
One way to think about it is that the fruits of the spirit are represented by your conscience, whereas the acts of the flesh are represented by the opposing voice (also known as the good wolf-bad wolf analogy).
It’s very important to recognize which is which, so let’s take a closer look at the 9 fruit of the spirit.
When considering what the bible has to say about love, one of the first passages that come to mind is 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.
This passage puts love above faith and hope and makes it appear to be one of the most – if not the most – important things in the bible. It even goes over some of the other fruits of the spirit as aspects of love.
However, I would argue that the most popular verse on love is John 3:16, which goes over how God sacrificed his Son for our sins because he loved us so much.
So when God calls on us to love our neighbors as ourselves, he is calling for us to truly care for them in more than a socially polite/minimum etiquette kind of way.
This involves going out and saving our fellow men from the peril of an eternity in hell and that’s not always the easiest thing to do in a world that’s becoming progressively less tolerant of Christians, but it is very important.
Showing love towards someone does not always involve something so dramatic or life-changing as saving someone. It can also involve just being there for someone or doing the little things to help someone who is going through a rough time.
Basically, the little things that we would do for those who we love can be just as important as the big things and it’s important to remember to apply that thought process to our everyday lives.
God loves those who rejoice and we are taught to rejoice in his glorious and wonderful ways.
Even a long time ago it was known that your joy and happiness would have a direct impact on your health (Proverbs 17:22).
The benefits of living and doing everything in our lives with a sense of joy can include: feeling mentally healthier, spreading that infectious joy to others, and attracting people towards us.
People are not going to want to be around you if you never seem to be happy, as misery can be just as infectious as joy. But if we are always doing our best to be in a joyous mood, then those around us will see the effect of the holy spirit and desire that same joy that we possess.
Our light shines the brightest when it shines with a smile.
Peace is easy to find when you act in accordance with the holy spirit.
Although in a sense, we may constantly feel as if we are being tempted by the acts of the flesh, we can find peace with Jesus when we surrender to Him. And if we seek peace, we will find it through His word.
Isaiah 54:10 talks about how no matter the circumstances, his unfailing love and covenant with peace will not fail us. I find peace in this verse, as his unfailing love and promise to keep our covenant of peace is a promise that will be kept.
And though there are few promises in this world that we can trust to be kept unconditionally, we can always put our faith in the word of God.
Patience is a virtue and a true challenge at times, but like many of the other virtues, it can catch on if we choose to demonstrate it in our daily lives.
When you are trying to remain calm in a potentially volatile situation, remember what Proverbs 15:18 says: “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.”
At times, it can be hard to see God’s plan, but it is important to remember that he works in mysterious ways and that he does in fact always have a plan for our lives.
2 Peter 3:9 differentiates between what we understand to be “slow” and God’s patience.
God takes as much time as he needs to get us to where we need to be and the road may never be as straightforward or simple as we would like, but that road is the path we were meant to take.
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
Another example of God wanting us to be the bigger person, and while it may be challenging to do so, we are rewarded in more ways than one.
God sees the nice things we do and the kindness that we show to others. And while other people may not necessarily show it back all the time, we can always expect to be rewarded by God.
Not only are we rewarded by being filled with the holy spirit, but God speaks many times about how our deeds that go unnoticed on earth will be repaid in heaven.
The goodness of God is described throughout the Bible on multiple occasions so if we are striving to be good, in a way, we are striving to be more like Him.
Any of the other fruit of the spirit can fall under the category of goodness. The lord’s goodness is abundant and can be shared simply by sharing his word.
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
If we are faithless, He remains faithful – for He cannot deny himself.
2 Timothy 2:13
You’ll find many verses in the Bible about faithfulness, but this one remains my favorite for the simple reason that it reiterates His unconditional love for us.
It shows that the golden rule does not apply between us and God, as even if we lose faith and become faithless, he will remain steadfast in his faith.
It is another reassurance in Him because He knows and understands our flaws, yet He continues to love us and remain faithful.
In an often capitalistic, dog-eat-dog world, it is difficult for some people to truly humble themselves before the Lord.
Matthew 5:5 says that “The meek shall inherit the earth,” which shows us that God loves the meek, the peaceful, and the gentle.
In a competitive society that often tells us to fight and do whatever it takes to get ahead in life, God tells us to take a different route. And if we are patient, He will provide for us in time.
Self-control is what I like to think of as the guard against the acts of the flesh alongside the power and the word of God, helping us not to fall into temptation.
In this modern-day society, we will be tempted every day to give into at least one – if not several – perverse acts and often times we are not strong enough to resist on our own.
1 Timothy 1:7 says “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Thankfully, God shows us that we do not have to be strong enough to do it on our own. We can simply draw on his benevolent power through the holy spirit and we will find the strength to resist any temptations.
The fruit of the spirit are a good reminder of virtues to embody. They are applicable to our everyday lives and will help us develop a closer relationship with God.
All we have to remember to do is to call upon him for help in situations where we are tempted to do evil, and the fruit of the spirit will help us in all of our decisions.