Every Christian must have at one point or another, heard about the fruits of the spirit. If on the slim chance that you have not, these are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. It probably does not need to be said but the fruits in question are not oranges, apples or any edible fruit. No, the fruit of the spirit is much more than that.
The fruits of the spirit are spiritual fruits, planted into Christians by the Holy Spirit. This means that every child of God has these fruits in them. However, for these fruits to grow and become evident, every Christian needs to nurture them and weed out anything that threatens their ripening.
There are nine fruits of the Holy Spirit and they include: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These fruits will be illustrated, for you to understand what they are and how to nurture them.
The Fruits OF The Spirit
This is the greatest commandment, the greatest action and the most profound fruit ever. It is a gift that keeps giving. Love as a fruit of the spirit, is a choice and not a feeling. In other words, it has to do with character and not emotions.
The most common illustration of love is that shown by God to us. However, since we are humans and do not hold a candle to God, a human illustration of this fruit of the spirit will suffice. Luke 10:30-37 tell the story of the Good Samaritan. In this story, a traveler was beaten, stripped and left lying on the road. A priest and Levite came across him at different times but looked the other way. It was the most unlikely person – a Samaritan, who saw the dying man, cleaned him up, covered his wounds with bandages and paid for him to be looked after.
This is a perfect example of love. The Samaritan had the choice to keep moving after coming across the helpless man. But love was in his character and he proved it by going all out to help. How many times have you put another person first, especially someone in need? Love is one of the fruits of the spirit that should always shine forth without fail – in every Christian’s life.
The joy that the world has to offer is transient and does not do much for the spiritual life. But joy as the fruit of the spirit is filling, eternal and beyond reproach. Paul was a powerful prophet who had fruits of the Holy Spirit that included joy.
He wrote his letters to the Philippians from prison and despite his circumstances, did not lose his joy. In fact, he admonished the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord always, as can be seen in Philippians 4:4. Having the fruit of the spirit, joy, will keep you going in times of tribulations.
No matter how things may seem in your life now, count it all joy and God shall strengthen you.
Ah! Peace! Who does not like peace? Before you answer, ‘nobody,’ know that you are speaking for yourself. There are very many people who cannot live in peace with others. This is because they lack the fruit of the holy spirit in question. Now, that is on the individual level. Generally, the world is not a peaceful place. Look around you and you will not have to search very far.
There are wars, fights, anarchy and chaos everywhere. No day goes by without one bad news or another being in the papers. This only goes to show that the world cannot give peace. On the contrary, peace is one of the fruits of the spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can give and guarantee everlasting peace.
In John 14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” You see, God is peace. This fruit of the Holy Spirit can grow in you, if you practice peacefulness with every man. Forget about what the world thinks and live as one who is not promised tomorrow – in peace and harmony.
Much haste makes less speed. Why are you impatient about everything?
Have you forgotten that God will supply your every need according to His riches in glory? Forbearance is a fruit of the spirit that every Christian should strive to possess.
Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.” This part of the scripture has a beautiful promise attached, only for those with the fruit of forbearance. If you do not wait, you will not get blessed. The choice is yours to make.
You cannot say you have the fruits of the spirit if you possess kindness in short supply. When you do something good for someone out of obligation, that is not kindness; it is just you doing what you have to do. When you do something nice because you want to be praised or thanked, that is eye service.
Like love, kindness is not a feeling but a choice. Kindness is extending a hand to someone who is not able to repay you – and expecting nothing in return. David easily comes to mind here. He was bosom friends with Jonathan and even after the latter’s death, chose to extend his arm of kindness to his dead friend’s household. 2 Samuel 9 tells of how Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth was given a seat at King’s David’s table, despite being crippled on both feet. Little wonder David was God’s favorite.
You want to be God’s favorite as well? You must show kindness.
There is a difference between being a good person and having goodness as the fruit of the spirit. With the latter, it is goodness on God’s standard.
There were many people filled with goodness in the bible. One of them was Joshua. It is quite difficult to see an obedient follower and a dependable leader in one person. Joshua was one of the few people who could be both.
When he was sent to bring report about the promised land, he focused on the good and ignored the bad – because his heart was good. He followed Moses without question. God saw the good in him and chose him as the one to lead His people into the promised land.
A faithful person is someone who can be trusted; a reliable individual. As a Christian, faithfulness means trusting God’s plan and relying on His promises to His people. If you read your bible, you will find that God does not joke with people who have faith in Him.
The book of Job is enough to prove this. Job was so faithful that even the devil took notice. He was a very wealthy and blessed man, but the devil struck – with God’s permission.
Job lost everything but he still blessed God. Such faith! How many of you reading this will lose everything and not blame God or even stop worshiping him? Not many people, for sure. Job had the fruits of the spirit in abundance, faithfulness included. God doubly blessed him for his fidelity.
Numbers 12:3 tells us that Moses was the meekest amongst every man who walked the face of the earth at the time. (Meek is a synonym for gentle.)
The only time when Moses was not gentle and let anger get the better of him, he lost the opportunity to enter the promised land. It did not matter that it was a one-time mistake. Obviously, God takes meekness very seriously. Matthew 5:5 goes further to say that the meek shall inherit the earth.
In other words, if you want to not only prosper but dominate, you must be gentle; arrogance and aggression must go – permanently.
Lack of self-control has put millions of people in trouble. A lot of people live in regret today because they could not control themselves for a moment.
Joseph is a notable bible hero and perhaps a role model for discipline and self-control. In Genesis 39, his master, Potiphar’s wife wanted to get intimate with him. If Joseph did not have the fruits of the spirit, he would have fallen into the temptation of the flesh. But self-control came to the fore and he resisted, not minding the consequences. Of course, God honored him, as can be seen in subsequent chapters.
That is what you get for exercising self-control; a breakthrough from God when you least expect it.
As you can tell from reading this article, the fruits of the spirit are necessary in the life of every Christian. Without them, your life does not count for much as a child of God. If you are finding it difficult to nurture these fruits, ask God for guidance and He will surely help you. Rest assured that your life will change for better, if you possess the fruits of the Holy Spirit.