The Fruit of the Spirit

Photo by Any Lane and Jeanie Shepard Ministries

In Galatians 5:16 Paul writes to ‘Live by the Spirit’. The Spirit dwells in us when we are in Christ (John 14:17). To live by the spirit is to turn from one’s own sinful nature, shedding our own desires, dying to self and following Christ. To live by the Spirit requires one to be led by the spirit.

Roman 8:5b says that those who live by the spirit have their mind set on what the spirit desires.

Romans 8:9 says “If the spirit of God lives in you, we are not then controlled by our sinful nature but by the Holy Spirit.”

Our sinful nature and the spirit are in conflict with each other when it comes to desires and how we lead our lives (Gal 5:17). As Christ followers we are under no obligation to please God out of fear, but as Timothy Keller said it is a ‘glad obligation’, to live in obedience to Him.

Romans 8:14 says that those who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God.

God is father to all; he is our author and answer. He is the author of our life and the answer to a redeemed life. But when not acknowledged as either of those things, we still remain in sin and are separated from Him. Through Jesus we are adopted by grace as His children. And as Romans 8:15 says when we do so, we receive our adoption into His kingdom.

The spirit within us becomes a reality when we accept Jesus as Lord (Rom 8:9, 1 Cor 12:18, Eph 1:13-14). And the work of the spirit causes a change in our lives, moulding and shaping us to be more Christ like, conforming us to His image. In Christ we are a new creature and that change is reflective in the heart and the hand of the person – the fruit of the spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).

The fruit of the spirit contrasts with the sinful nature (Gal 5). The works of the flesh are in conflict to the work of the spirit in us.

How do we produce this fruit within us?

Do we muster it up or emulate these characteristics? We can produce only works on our own but fruit is the evidence of Christ abiding in us. In John 15:4 Jesus said “Abide in me and I in you.”

He is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5).

He is the spring of living water that flows within us. Without abiding in Christ every single day, we in no way can grow more Christ like. We may want the result of being more Christ like, but do we put in the daily effort?  

Paul writes in Philippians 3:12 &14 “I press on take hold of that which Christ took hold of me.” “I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Press on to be in the will of God every day. Using the imagery of an athlete in a race which Paul used before, to press on, it takes discipline, effort, commitment and a proper attitude.

For us: So, if we claim to be in Christ, is the fruit of the Spirit evident in your life?

The fruit on a tree is something that often enables one to recognise it for its true identity, even from afar. When one spots apples on a tree, there is no doubt that the tree is an apple tree. Similarly, the work of the spirit in us – the fruit, is what will be the markers for us who call ourselves Christ followers. Mathew 7:16 says “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” It is not our church attendance or our verbal claims to Christianity but our obedience to God, our everyday manner and our heart attitude that pours out from the reality of living by and being led by Christ.

Real fruit vs fake ones

Pay attention to a bowl of plastic fruit, kept for decoration. It sure can draw the eye by its perfect outward appearance but when you reach out, you realise they are fake. When we pretend to have Christ like qualities, just for appearance, when someone comes close enough to experience (to touch), the difference will be evident and they are not going to experience Christ through us. Plastic fruit only attracts dust, but real fruit draws towards and satisfies.

Fruit or Fruits

When I was new in faith, I often read Galatians 5 and viewed the fruit (singular) of the spirit as fruits (plural). It is easy to read it as such as this verse reads as a list. We tend to treat them as different characteristics. We might think; ‘I have kindness but lack self-control, or patience but lack in faithfulness’. The caution I think we need to pay is that we should treat them as together and not separate, they are the work of one Spirit within us.

This does not equate to having all these Christ-like traits within us in equal measure. Just like fruit needs to grow, so does the fruit of the spirit within us. This is something that we keep on growing in through our entire lives. We do not reach perfection in exhibiting these qualities as Jesus did while we are in this body. The completion of the work that Christ began in us is on the other side of our earthly life. But neither does that mean we use this as an excuse for a lack of these traits in us.

Have you known someone who is not a Christ follower but found them to be very kind, or very patient? Do they have the spirit in them that has produced this fruit? I think not. But they might have no joy and no self -control? If you and I who claim to be in Christ have some and none of the other traits, what is the difference? Hence the emphasis for those who know Christ to not view these as separate from one another but together as one. They might be in different stages of growth in your spiritual life but the danger of separating them can lead us to being satisfied with having 4 out of 9 traits and thinking we are doing pretty good.

Without Him we can do nothing. Abide in Him. Seek Him every single day. Do not rest on past failures or on yesterday’s victories. His grace and mercies are new ever day. Take little steps towards Him, that is all that matters. He has our goal in mind, we just need to keep Him in ours.

God Bless.

29 thoughts on “The Fruit of the Spirit

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  1. Hey, Manu! Great post! I think there is an order to the fruit and that they hinge on self-control. Without self-control there is no love, joy, peace, patience etc. I think self-control in today’s society is ignored even in the church. We do not live for ourselves we live for Christ. We are called to discipline ourselves but the church has bought the lie to please and satisfy self. I am thankful for your work on this post. The world needs believers manifesting the Spirit’s fruit. I am so thankful for how God is using you!! Love, hugs and blessings!! 🤗🤗🤗🌷🌷🌷🌷🧡🧡🧡🧡🙏🙏🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I do agree that the fruit do hinge on self control and often that is the hardest thing to grow in.
      It is sad to see the compromise the church takes in the area of discipline oneself.
      Thank you so much Mandy. Appreciate it a lot 🤗😘🌺💙

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Manu !
    Great post.
    I especially like that you pointed out that it is one fruit, rather than separate fruits.
    I sometimes lament about not having enough self-control , as I reach for a second piece of chocolate cake – yet I know that developing fruit is a life-long process. 🌼🌷🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am right there with you Sally in not having enough self control when it comes to chocolate cake 😁.
      And yes, it is a life long process but I remind myself that I need to reflect and see if I am growing in those areas rather than using my imperfect human nature to excuse my shortcomings.
      Thank you Sally 🤗🌺

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you Manu! Through the fruit of the Spirit we can exhibit Jesus to those around us. Thanks for the reminder that it is one Fruit and if we are lacking in an area we need to continue to trust God to grow in that area. We have all we need because His Spirit lives inside of us. Enjoy your weekend. 🤗

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This is such an encouraging post with so many key points to think about. When I slip up, I will ask God why I am not “there” yet. I appreciate your guidance in this post that we need to always “abide” in Jesus. Every moment of every day. And then the results will come naturally as He flows through us. And I love what you pointed out about fruit vs fruits. I hadn’t thought about it like that before, but it makes perfect sense.
    I had to laugh when you mentioned the fake fruit used for decoration. Many years ago when my nephew was a toddler, I was babysitting and my mother had a bowl of fake grapes on the coffee table. My nephew kept asking me for some grapes. I tried to explain that they weren’t real, but he didn’t understand. Finally he tried to stick them in his mouth anyway and then his face scrunched up in disgust. Haha. He finally understood at that point. And I love the analogy that you used here. Christ should flow through us naturally and it is noticeable when we try to pretend to have the fruit of the Spirt.
    I also like that you pointed out that the fruit should evident in us, just as when you see apples you know it’s an apple tree. Many years ago I remember hearing a preacher say that when you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice. It really hit home to me and made me wonder what was seen flowing out of me.
    I don’t know if you follow Daryl Madden, but I thought I would share his beautiful poem for today as he mentioned growth in the Spirit:
    Thank you for sharing this insightful post. I pray we can abide in Jesus and then the fruit of the Spirit will naturally flow in our lives. What a beautiful thought. Blessings, dear friend! 💜

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Abiding in Jesus is the way we grow. We cannot do it unless we are in Him.
      I love that story of your nephew. Made me laugh 😆.
      When you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice – how true. When we grow in the fruit, through challenging circumstances (the squeezing) our response is Christ like.
      I was not familiar with Darryl Madden, just checked the poem – absolutely loved it.
      Thank you Bridget 💙🌺🤗
      Blessings to you too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve actually been thinking about the fruit of the Spirit lately due to some present circumstances I’m dealing with and a blogpost I’m working on as a result. I like what you say about viewing them wholistically, as one fruit and not many. Like you brought up, it’s easier to be motivated to grow in these traits when seen as one rather than to be content to have a few of these traits. I’m really glad it’s God’s Spirit that produces the fruit within us and not left to our own efforts. I often have to remind myself of this and pray that I would let God work in me. Thank you for this lovely post and your insights. Your writings are such a gift.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Absolutely Colleen, when seen as one we lessen the chance of not focusing on one or more of those traits. I am with you, I have to pray too and remind myself that God is working in me. My job is to submit to that refining. Easier said than done.
      Thank you so much Colleen 🤗💙

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Manu, I liked how you explained that it is the fruit of the Spirit rather than individual fruits. When we stay connected to the vine (Jesus), we through the Holy Spirit produce fruit. Sin is the weed that we have to pull out and keep out of the garden to thrive. I love garden metaphors! 💗💐🌺

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The metaphor of sin being the weed is so apt. They definitely an stifle the growth of the other plants and that is why we need to ensure that we are not allowing any to grow in our own life. I know you love garden metaphors 😁.
      Thank you Jeanne.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Yes, ma’am. 💯
    I also was part of those who read it as “fruits” till I listened to a message and I went back to check it and found out it was “fruit”. 🙈 May we strive to possess all and not settle for some of these. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Teach me Lord to work on my salvation. I need the complete fruit of the Holy spirit, Not 1 or two but ALL in Jesus name. This was very helpful Manu. I feel challenged, rebuked, loved and humbled all at the same time. Baraka to you!(kiswahili word for Blessings)

    Liked by 1 person

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