“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). A part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to manifest the character of Jesus in us. The Bible depicts this as being like the fruit of a plant. Jesus Himself used the vine to illustrate an important truth: the fruit of the Spirit grows out of our relationship with Him. A branch cannot bear fruit unless it is joined to the vine, therefore He is the source of our spiritual life.
The Fruit of the Spirit
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit mentioned in this verse are not just the natural product of circumstances around us. Even when things are not going great, the Holy Spirit can develop His fruit in us (see John 7:38-39).
Love is manifested in giving of yourself for the good of others. 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: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:10-11). The joy that comes from the Holy Spirit is not dependent on how happy we feel, but on the character of God. Everyone in the world are searching for happiness, but it can only be found in the supernatural joy of the Holy Spirit (see also Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 16: 11; 132: 16; Isaiah 12:3; 35; 10; Romans 14:17; Philippians 4:4).
Peace is that quality which everyone desires but only the child of God can truly experience. It is God’s peace imparted to us by His Spirit – ”the God of peace” (Romans 15:33), and is designed to operate even in times of trouble (see John 14:27). “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
“Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Colossians 1:11). Longsuffering or patience is that ability given by the Holy Spirit to trust in the promises of God. It is not a passive emotion, but is in actual fact an expression of faith and the Christian’s strength that comes from the Spirit. Patience comes when we begin to see things the way God sees them (2 Peter 3:8-9 & Ephesians 4:2).
This fruit is expressed in the loving acceptance of those around us. An attitude of intolerance always leads to broken relationships. The word “gentleness” 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. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).
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.
Faith or faithfulness is one of the most important virtues in the 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.
The two men renowned most for the fruit of meekness were the Lord Jesus Christ 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 meekness is not weakness but the strength of being self-controlled. The world’s attitude toward strength is to aggressively defend yourself, but real strength is found in a meek spirit – an attitude of being able to receive a wrong without retaliating or demanding your rights. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28). This is the crowning fruit of the Spirit because it is the evidence of a mature Christian life. “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5).
It is important to see the Fruit of the Spirit as one fruit containing nine segments. Viewed in this light we clearly see that all parts of the fruit should be manifest in our lives. It is impossible to have some and not the rest. The Fruit of the Spirit are given by God to enable us to mature in Christ.