THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
''But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law'' Galatians 5:22-23 (see also Romans 7:4; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11; Colossians 1:10; James 3:17).
All the fruits mentioned in this verse are NOT just the natural products of circumstances around us. Even when things are going wrong, the life of the Holy Spirit inside can well up in an overflowing expression of these fruits (see John 7:38-39).
1. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE
Love is the giving of yourself for the good of another. The greatest expression of love is found in the Lord. John 3: 16 says, ''For God so loved the world that he gave . '' The fruit of love is an expression through the Holy Spirit of God's own nature of love, and the quality of that love is described beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
''Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered . It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres'' (see also v.1-8; John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7-21).
2. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS JOY
''If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love... I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete'' John 15:10-11.
The joy that comes from the Holy Spirit is not dependent on happy situations, but on the character of God. People in the world are searching for happiness, but the answer is found only in the supernatural joy of the Holy Spirit (see Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 16: 11; 132: 16; Isaiah 12:3; 35; 10; Romans 14:17; Philippians 4:4).
3. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PEACE
Peace is that quality which everyone desires but only the child of God can truly experience. It is the peace of God Himself - ''the God of peace'' (Romans 15:33) - that has been given to us, and is designed to operate even in times of turmoil (see John 14:27).
''And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus'' Philippians 4:7 (see a”lso Colossians 3:15).
4. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PATIENCE
" . . . being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience . . . '' Colossians 1:11.
Patience is that ability given by the Holy Spirit to wait with confidence for the result promised by God. It is not a passive emotion, but is in actual fact an expression of faith and of the inner strength that comes by the Spirit. The fruit of patience comes when we begin to see things the way God sees them (2 Peter 3:8-9; see also Ephesians 4:2).
5. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS KINDNESS
This fruit is expressed in the loving acceptance of those around us. An attitude of intolerance leads to broken relationship. The word "kindness" comes from the same root word that "kindred" comes from- and points to a quality of relationship similar to that found in a close-knit, loving family.
''Be kind and ,compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you'' Ephesians 4:32.
6. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GOODNESS
''The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart . . . For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks" Luke 6:45 (see also Ephesians 5:8-10).
Goodness, as a fruit of the Spirit, is that purity of heart which produces virtuous behaviour. The child of God has received, through the Holy Spirit, a new heart (Hebrews 8:10). The fruit of goodness in our daily dealings with people can be maintained by keeping our heart pure before God.
7. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS FAITHFULNESS
Faithfulness is one of the most important aspects to Christian life. It begins in our relationship with God, and then overflows into our relationship with others. God is absolutely faithful (Psalm 36:5; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:13), and it is His desire that through the Spirit that faithfulness will become a part of our character also.
''They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings - and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers'' Revelation 17:14.
8. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GENTLENESS
The two men renowned most for the fruit of gentleness were the Lord Jesus and Moses (see Numbers 12:3; 1 Peter 2:21-23). Both were great deliverers - Moses for the nation of Israel, and Jesus for the whole world. This shows that gentleness is not weakness but CONTROLLED STRENGTH. The world's attitude toward strength is to aggressively defend yourself, but real strength is found in a gentle spirit - an attitude of being able to receive a wrong without fighting back and demanding your rights.
''Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls'' Matthew 11:29 (see also Psalm 37:11).
9. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS SELF-CONTROL
''Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who la"cks self-control'' Proverbs 25:28.
This is the crowning fruit of the Spirit because it is the evidence of a Spirit-controlled life. The Holy Spirit's ministry is to help us regain the control we lost to Satan and sin, so that we might live the way that God created us for.
''For those who are according to the flesh and controlled by its unholy desires, set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh. But those who are according to the Spirit and controlled by the desires of the Spirit, set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the Holy Spirit" Romans 8:5 (Amp) (see also Galatians 5:16-17;Titus 2:11-13).
"The righteous . . . planted in the house of the Lord . . . will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him'" Psalm 92:12-15.
''Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, l do not want you to be ignorant" 1 Corinthians 12:1.
The Apostle Paul placed a tremendous importance on the operation of ''spiritual gifts'' endowed by the Holy Spirit, and so we will be looking at this vital part of the Holy Spirit's ministry, through the individual believer, to the Church and to the world. Our first step is to see the gifts of the Spirit in their setting.