The phrase “fruit of the spirit” comes from Galatians 5:22-23. “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.”
True, biblical love is a choice, not a feeling. It deliberately expresses itself in loving ways and always seeks the welfare of others. Biblical love is dependent on the giver’s character, not emotion. For instance, a mature believer demonstrating love will not exercise his or her freedom if that action might harm another Christian in some way. Rather than risking the possibility of causing the immature Christian to question and stumble, the mature believer will not exercise his freedom out of love for his brother (Romans 14:1-15). Love chooses to set aside one’s own preferences, desires, and sometimes even needs to put the other person first (Philippians 2:1-3).
The world doesn’t offer much peace. Just look around. The world cannot give it because the world doesn’t know the One who is peace. But for those who have the Spirit of peace within us, the peace of Christ is possible, no matter our circumstances (John 14:27). We can reject the chaos of the world and embrace God’s peace. The book of Philippians tells us how (Philippians 4:4-9). First, choose to rejoice in God and who He is. Second, bring all your worries, fears, and concerns to God in prayer. Third, fill your mind with God’s truth. And fourth, choose to think about the things of God.
Goodness means uprightness of heart and life, goodness, and kindness. Goodness is seen in our actions. This word relates to not only being good, but also doing good things. , “We pray for God’s power to help you do all the good things you hope to do and your faith makes you want to do.” Through the Holy Spirit’s work in Christians’ lives, they are upright in heart, and they do good things.
Sometimes we Christians tend to downplay the meaning of joy. But, the Greek word translated as “joy” in Galatians 5 means “gladness and delight” – basically the same thing the world means when it talks about joy. It is a feeling of gladness based on our circumstances. Sadly, the world’s joy cannot last because it is based on fleeting, physical circumstances. But the joy of the Lord is established in our spiritual, eternal circumstances. As we cling tight to Jesus, abiding daily in our saving relationship with Him, we will experience the fullness of joy He promised (John 15:4-11).
Closely linked to humility, gentleness is grace of the soul. It is not weakness, but instead it is strength under control. For instance, in Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he wrote that the “Lord’s servant” will “correct his opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:25). And in Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia, he wrote that those who have been caught in sin should be restored in a “spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1). Gentleness, being the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest, is also a key ingredient in unity and peace within the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:2).
The last characteristic in Paul’s description of the fruit of the Spirit points us back to his list of the “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19-21. Those of us with the indwelling Holy Spirit has the strength to control our sinful desires, to say “no” to our flesh. Self-control gives us the power to say “yes” to the Spirit and foster a beautiful, bountiful harvest of spiritual fruit!
We don’t see much patience in the world today, not even in the church. Maybe part of the reason is our fast-paced, want-it-now culture. But Christians have everything we need to be patient because we have the Holy Spirit living in us longing to display His character to those around us. Patient people put up with circumstances and other people, even when severely tried. Patient people display endurance, longsuffering, and perseverance. The New Testament also specifically connects patience with sharing the Gospel. God is patient as He waits for the lost to come to Him (2 Peter 3:9) and He calls His people to be patient as we extend the offer of salvation in Christ to others (2 Timothy 4:20).
To be “faithful” is to be reliable or trustworthy. For the Christian, this is faithfulness specifically to the Savior who redeemed us. Christian faithfulness therefore, is continued and consistent submission and obedience to the same Spirit who provides the ability for us to be faithful. This attitude is in direct contrast to our previous “faithfulness” to our own sinful desires and ways. The word also describes someone willing to suffer persecution and even death for Christ’s sake. “Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” (2 Thessalonians 1:4)Lyric
Kindness conveys the meaning of moral goodness, integrity, usefulness, and benignity. In the King James Version this word is translated “gentleness,” which links it to the meaning of a gentleman or a gentlewoman, someone who behaved properly, with moral integrity and kindness. Romans 2:4 reminds us that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance not judgement. The Holy Spirit enables us to have moral integrity with kindness and not get trapped in self-righteousness judgement.