(Click to listen to an audio recording of this article: What is the fruit of the Spirit?)
What is the fruit of the Spirit?
Some of the fruits of the Spirit are described in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
The fruit of the Spirit is essentially the opposite of sin and egotism. The fruit of the Spirit is the life of Christ, it is divine nature. It is the new and refreshing life that becomes part of my nature when, in obedience to the Spirit, I allow myself to be cleansed and die to sin. The fruit of the Spirit is the result of walking in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-26)
How do we get the fruit of the Spirit?
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John 12:24.
In order for this wheat or fruit to grow, something has to die. But when it dies, then new life comes – we get more and more of the fruits of the Spirit the more we put to death our sinful nature through obedience to the Spirit – through walking in the Spirit.
For example, goodness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. We want to show goodness to our family, our colleagues, and those we meet along our way, but then something doesn’t go the way I thought it would, or someone says something a certain way, and I sense the opposite of goodness in myself. Something distasteful wants to come out. This is my sinful nature, or “flesh” and this is what needs to die in order to gain the precious fruit of goodness!
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. … Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another …” Colossians 3:5,12-13.
Obtaining the fruit of the Spirit: a life-long process
This is a continual process: something of myself always has to die in order to make place for divine nature. The more I “die,” the more I can receive genuine good thoughts, words and actions, and become more and more righteous and holy. (2 Peter 1:3-9)
The same applies to love, joy, peace, longsuffering and all the other fruits of the Spirit. This is a life-long work. There is always more divine nature to work towards. We need to continually have this longing and desire burning in our hearts, “I need to gain more of the fruits of the Spirit, I need to be more cleansed and purified, I need to be filled with divine nature!”
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” Romans 6:22.