The Fruit of the Holy Spirit in Daily Living
To be empowered by the Holy Spirit for life and mission, we need to have a proper understanding of the true personality of the One who empowers us.
A Holy Spirit empowered life results in victory over sin, joy and peace in heart, and submission towards the Lord and others. So, as disciples who live fruitful and victorious lives, we need to live and walk in total dependence on the Holy Spirit so that we can bear fruit that lasts.
How does the fruit of the Spirit relate with Christ-like characteristics?
The fruit of the Spirit is what the Holy Spirit produces and displays in the life of a disciple.
One of the primary purposes of the Holy Spirit’s coming into a Christian life is to change that life.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit that conforms us to the image of Christ, making us more like Him. It is His presence within us that enables us to develop spiritual fruit in our lives. Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5, John 15:16).
He has chosen and ordained us, that we should go and bring forth fruit, and that our fruit should remain. God’s divine purpose for our life is to bear fruit, but abundant fruit is possible only for those who live in intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, as a branch remains in the vine (John 15:1-8).
What are the Fruits of the Holy Spirit?
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of the Spirit enables us to eliminate spiritual barrenness, to escape the corruption of the world, and to become partakers of the divine nature of God (2 Peter 1:4-8). It is our responsibility to walk in the Spirit so as to develop this fruit that is the character of Christ in our lives; not only will it cause us to grow spiritually, but it will be a powerful witness to unbelievers as well (2 Peter 1:8-9).
The fruit of the Spirit—LOVE
Love is caring for someone else as much as I care for myself. Love is something in which we grow (1 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 3:18-19). Paul writes in Philippians 1:9, “And this I pray, that your love may abound [grow] yet more and more.” God wants our love to grow so big that His love can flow through us to call and win many to the Kingdom. Paul contrasts love with spiritual gifts and other manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit, concluding that none of these gifts compare with the power of love (1 Corinthians 13). He does this to emphasize the importance, completeness, and supremacy of love over all other qualities we consider important to life and God’s purpose. Love will never end; it will always be of use. Such a supernatural love flows into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). It causes us to make a decision to love even when we don’t feel like it. When we walk in the love of God, everything else falls into place (Song of Songs 8:7; John 13:34-35; John 15:13; John 16:27; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:11; 1 John 4:7-8).
The fruit of the Spirit—JOY
Joy, a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit, is defined as happiness, cheerfulness, great pleasure, gladness, and delight. Biblical joy is inseparable from our relationship with God, and it springs from our knowledge and understanding of the purpose of life and the hope of living with God for eternity when there will be joy forevermore. If God is actually present in our lives, the joy He experiences can begin to flow in and through us (Psalm 16:11). Joy is the sign that life has found its purpose and its reason for being. When we are filled with this joy, we begin to rejoice in the Lord beyond the circumstances surrounding us (Philippians 4:4). There is fullness of joy in every situation in the presence of God (Acts 2:46; Acts 16:34). God Himself, and our relationship with Him, are the source and cause of any real joy we have (2 Chronicles 20:27; Nehemiah 12:43)—this is a supernatural joy that gives spiritual strength (Nehemiah 8:10). The Psalmist and the Prophet Isaiah both refer to it as the joy of salvation (Psalm 51:12; Psalm 35:9; Psalm 89:15-16; Isaiah 12:3; John 15:11; Jeremiah 15:16; Acts 2:28; Romans 14:17). Our joys must arise from yielding our will so as to fulfill God’s purpose and see it accomplished (Matthew 25:21).
The fruit of the Spirit—PEACE
Peace is a gift from God to those reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ, and it is the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in us as we grow in a continuing, trustful relationship with God through the daily affairs of our lives (John 14:27; Romans 5:1; Psalm 119:165). Such peace doesn’t come through any other means—not through drugs, alcohol, sex, wealth, or entertainment. The peace of God has a different source than that of the world. We cannot experience this peace without giving lordship to the Prince of Peace in our lives (Isaiah 9:6). His peace is a peace that surpasses all human understanding and keeps our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7; Psalm 119:165; Isaiah 26:3; Romans 8:6; James 3:18).
The fruit of the Spirit—PATIENCE
Patience is a characteristic of our Lord that fills us with gratitude. It makes us mild, gentle, and constant in all circumstances. God’s patience delays His wrath, allowing time for good to occur (Jonah 4:2). Do we have such patience? As we desire others, especially God, to be patient and forgiving toward us in our faults, do we have patience ourselves? Patience is a two-way street, and God clearly demands reciprocity. He expects us to pass His patience and forgiveness on to others as Christ did (Matthew 18:23-35). When we develop this character in our lives, we can learn to enjoy life where we are while we are waiting for what we desire (Ephesians 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:2; 2 Peter 3:9). The real test of patience is not in waiting but in how one acts while waiting. Patience is a vital part of the process that enables God to work over a long period of time, if necessary, to produce in us other important aspects of His image so that we “may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4). Reaching this point is definitely a process which takes a lot of practice.
The fruit of the Spirit—KINDNESS
Kindness is simply putting others first. It is a quality that makes us great in God’s sight (James 3:17; 2 Samuel 22:36). Kindness is something that we must develop, and we can do it because the Holy Spirit has already enabled us. The mountains shall depart and the hills will be removed, but the Lord’s kindness shall not depart from us (Isaiah 54:10). In 1 Thessalonians 2:7, Apostle Paul illustrates kindness by the example of a mother nourishing her children. Being Christ-like means being gentle, kind, loving, and compassionate as He is to us. We all have sinned and come short of His glory, yet God forgives and redeems us. Being like Jesus is having His kindness manifested in our lives (Luke 23:33-34). Imitating Christ, Stephen also showed kindness; even in the midst of being stoned to death, he asked the Lord to forgive the sin of those who were killing him (Acts 7:59-60); the parable of the Good Samaritan is also a good example of kindness (Luke 10:29-37); Joseph’s story is one of the many stories of kindness we find in the Old Testament (Genesis 45:4-15). How kind are we?
The fruit of the Spirit—GOODNESS
Goodness and generosity enable us to do good things to those who hate us (Luke 6:27). The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord (Psalm 33:5). He created us in His image and draws out of us His own goodness to witness that He is our God. It is the goodness of God that leads men and women to repentance. His goodness goes beyond what is legally right—it goes the extra mile and gives what is needed to benefit, build up, and bless others. He wants His goodness to flow in and through us to impact others’ lives. We are called to be lights in a dark world, and we must shine the goodness of our Father (Psalm 23:6; Psalm 52:1; Matthew 5:14-16). True goodness is inseparable from godliness; God is the source of all that can truly be called good. He does not just have it or do it, but He is goodness, and He greatly desires to give it to us (Exodus 34:6). He has recreated us in Jesus Christ for His good works (Ephesians 2:10). So we need to take every opportunity to yield to the Holy Spirit so as to develop this goodness in our lives.
The fruit of the Spirit—FAITHFULNESS
Faithfulness is the quality of being faithful. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines faithfulas “maintaining allegiance; constant; loyal; marked by or showing a strong sense of duty or responsibility; accurate; reliable; exact.” Faithfulness enables us to walk and live by faith (Romans 5:2). Without this kind of faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Since God is faithful, it has become our responsibility to imitate Him in being faithful by committing our lives to the leading of the Spirit. There is never inconsistency in the life of Jesus. Our greatest obligation on earth is to imitate His faithfulness to a faithless world (Revelation 3:14; John 18:37; Matthew 24:45-47). Being faithful is not always easy—it requires making a decision and then sticking to it regardless of what our feelings tell us. However, when we are faithful and do what God tells us to do, we will be rewarded; the Bible says that if we’re faithful over little things, He will make us rulers of much (Matthew 17:20; Matthew 21:22; Mark 9:23; Mark 11:24; Romans 4:20-21; Ephesians 6:16).
The fruit of the Spirit—MEEKNESS
Meekness is the quality of being free from pride and arrogance; it is a modest estimation of our own worth (Numbers 12:3). It is the meek who are blessed and share in Jesus’ inheritance of the earth (Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:11). People may relate meekness with weakness, but meekness is really power under control; it is a slave-like submission to God. Moses was a great example of meekness. While Moses had a high position, he did not try to defend himself with his social status (Numbers 12:3). Once we crucify our pride and self-will, we do not think or care about ourselves. Meek people do not measure the importance of events by their relation to their personal comfort or what they gain from them. They begin to see everything from God’s perspective, seeking only to serve His purposes in every situation of life. Meekness enables us to bear patiently those insults and injuries we receive at the hand of the enemies of the Gospel. Meek people seek no private revenge; they leave revenge to God while they seek to remain true in their calling and meet God’s standards (Zephaniah 2:3). It is the hidden heart of a person—a meek and a quiet spirit—which is greatly valued by God (1 Peter 3:4; Ephesians 4:1-2; Colossians 3:12; Titus 3:1-2).
The fruit of the Spirit—SELF-CONTROL
Self-Control is that control over the whole person (spirit, soul, and body) which enables us to live a victorious life. Paul illustrates self-control by showing what it produces along the way and, most importantly, in the end (1 Corinthians 9:25). A person who has self-control is mild and calm, avoids extreme behavior, and exercises self-restraint in both actions and speech. Self-control is keeping our passions and desires in check. “Whoever has no rule over his spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28; Proverbs 16:32) Self-control is present in the one who is strong in the strength of the Lord having put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). If we lack this manifestation of the Spirit, we are like a car without brakes which has great potential to damage others as well as ourselves.
What is the best way you can encourage others to exercise the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit in their lives?
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