But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23,25)
The first two things I’ve noticed:
“Fruit” is singular. This list must be like a bunch of grapes, not like single apples.
And fruit doesn’t come about by working and grunting, forcing it out. Fruit is the natural result of life in a plant. This fruit is the same – it is the life of the Spirit in us that produces fruit. We don’t decide we want to work on one or two. The life of the Spirit will show in them all.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” To keep in step with someone means to go in the same direction – and move at the same pace. To stay with them, regardless of fast or slow, in or out. So, if we live with the Spirit – there will be fruit. There has to be. We will look and act more and more like our Father in heaven.
Let’s take a closer look at the fruit words:
- Love can be translated as affection, goodwill, love or benevolence.
- Joy can be translated as cheerfulness, gladness or even calm delight.
- Peace is about inner quietness and trust in God. It also has a civil sense to it (the opposite of war and dissension). And among individuals, peace or harmony.
- Patience can also be translated as long-suffering, forbearance or self-restraint. It’s the quality of a person who is able to avenge himself but chooses not to.
- Kindness has the idea of kindness shown or usefulness.
- Goodness has the idea of active goodness behind it. Doing good to others.
- Faithfulness involves assurance, firm conviction. It also includes constancy, honesty, integrity and trustworthy,
- Gentleness can also be translated as meekness, mildness or humility.
- Self-control has the idea of mastery, temperance – the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions. Like an athlete working toward a goal.
When I think of my natural tendencies, these words aren’t what comes to mind. But, when I see fruit, It becomes proof that the Spirit is alive and well and working in me.
And it occurs to me that there are a lot of words that involve self-control here. Even words like love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness and gentleness require self-control.
Can that be what the fruit of the Spirit is all about? Living with the Spirit means that he controls more and more of us. That our thoughts and actions change. As I keep in step with the Spirit, people who deal with me see more of my Father than me. And that means that I become a blessing. Me – a blessing!