THE DIVINE WORKING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT YIELDS CHRISTLIKE FRUIT
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23 –
The apostle Paul is here describing the most noble of Spirit attributes… the triumph of our spiritual journey. All these attributes are embodied in our Savior Jesus who is the culmination and perfection of Christian character. It is only by the divine working of the Holy Spirit within us that we can even come close to resembling our Lord.
The fruit of the Spirit encompasses nine godly attributes. Paul refers to them in the singular “fruit”, stressing their interdependency. We may recite these from memory. Yet until we seek to comprehend each distinct virtue, and just how each intertwine with one another, can we truly take them to heart and apply them to our lives.
The first three fruits – love – joy – peace – are attributes of our Spirit life… our heart’s belief. These overriding three form the foundation of our faith. All stem from our closeness to God… our relationship with Him. The nearer we abide with Him, the more His nature forms our nature… our Christlike countenance… that manifests in every area of our lives.
† Love – This is the paramount Christian attribute that encompasses all the rest. Our loving God pours His love into our hearts… a love so profound that it permeates our entire being. This love is genuine, unselfish affection and concern given unconditionally, irrespective of merit. To be so loved gives us the ability to pour love into our world.
† Joy – When God’s love radiates into our lives, we experience His holy joy… a brightness, a cheerful spirit, a gladness and thankfulness of heart quite apart from circumstances that surround us. His love and joy are like rays of sunshine that warm us within and shine forth into our world, brightening the lives of others.
† Peace – When God’s love dwells in our hearts, we experience His peace… the inner contentment and serenity of soul that comes from living in His favor. A calm demeanor and tranquil spirit that emits peacefulness to our world. Trouble may be present… yet the everpresence of God prevails.
The next three fruits – patience – kindness – goodness – are attributes that manifest in our actions toward others… virtues that form our behavior… built upon the foundation of love, joy and peace. This is how we live out our Christian walk.
† Patience – Abiding with God, we learn to bear with one another in a godly fashion. Not easily provoked… not responding like for like… but with forbearance and longsuffering. We take the high road that our Savior always walks.
† Kindness – In harmony with God, we cannot help but express His compassion, His benevolence. We learn to face life with graciousness… a loving presence of tolerance and acceptance… so rare in the world that it changes the attitudes of those around us.
† Goodness – Connected with our God, who is altogether good, we learn to share with our world His mercy and generosity… actively and selflessly working for the good of those in need. It is this demonstration of our faith in action that draws others to our Lord.
The last three fruits – faithfulness – gentleness – self-control – are attributes for dealing with difficulties and opposition in the world. Built upon the foundation of the preceding virtues, these enable us to live our Christian life in triumph and victory by the Spirit’s presence.
† Faithfulness – When trials and tribulations arise, we seek to respond with a loyalty and trustworthiness to God and His Word. With sincerity and singleness of mind, unperturbed by the world and the enemy, we commit to following the will of God.
† Gentleness – When faced with opposition and hatred from the world, we seek to react not out of our old nature but our new nature in meekness and humility. For in humility is great strength when in obedience to God… on display for the world to see.
† Self-control – When the world’s affronts attack, we seek to act with self-restraint and endurance. When temptations present themselves, we aspire to master our emotions and desires by the Spirit’s power… walking the higher plane of the Christian walk.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” – Romans 8:14
On our Christian journey, we are led by the Holy Spirit. It is a walk toward spiritual maturity. We may at times stumble, trip up along our walk… yet we do not give up. We continue to work out our salvation with awe and reverence of our wondrous God (Philippians 2:12).
The nine attributes of the Spirit’s fruit are seen perfectly in Jesus. All stem from the very presence of the Almighty in the life of every Christian. All result from the divine work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. All work together to manifest as Christlikeness in us… the ultimate aim of our spiritual walk.