We are continuing our study of the Holy Spirit’s impact in our lives to strengthen our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Galatians 5:22 – NLT – But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these.
One of the most important things to happen to us is the development of godly character in our daily lives. The Bible says that God’s desire is to transform us into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:18 – NLT – So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
It is the Holy Spirit’s inner workings in us that transforms us to produce the “fruit” within. Notice, it is the “fruit of the Spirit”, not of our natural abilities, for God’s character can only be produced in us by His Holy Spirit. Self-discipline to try to produce godly character without the help of the Holy Spirit will not have as strong an effect because we need God’s “grace” to help us to produce the fruit of the Spirit. God’s grace is His unmerited favor and His divine influence in us that works in our lives. This grace, given by the Holy Spirit helps as individual Christians to choose to do good and helps us to grow in our character.
But anyone who does any gardening knows that fruit does not grow overnight. It takes time, patience, lots of watering and ensuring that growth is exposed to the correct environment. And what would that correct environment be? That would be time spent in the presence of God developing our relationship with Him. Jesus said this:
John 15:1-5 – NLT – “I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear Westfruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the Vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me 5 “I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
We must stay connected to the Vine, which is Jesus Christ. We are simply the “branches” that cannot grow or produce fruit without that connection. Apart from Him, the Scripture says, we can do nothing and most importantly, we cannot bear the fruit of godly character.
Prayer time with the Lord and spending time in His Word are the avenues by which the Holy Spirit, by God’s grace, can cause the fruit of the Spirit to grow in our lives. Looking at the type of fruit that grows in our lives, according to Galatians 5 verses 22 through 23 are these:
Love; not human love or sympathy, but God’s kind of love which is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). And this love is not always a feeling as it is an action.
Joy: not just “happiness”. Happiness can fade away as quick as the wind, but joy is something that is deep within. The bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Joy is a mark that the kingdom of God has rule over your heart (Romans 14:17)
Peace; not peace like the world gives (John 14:27), but a peace that transcends our understanding (Philippians 4:6); one that can remain calm even in the midst of a storm.
Patience; Some translations say forbearance or longsuffering, which is the quality of being able to wait, endure, or express restraint. True biblical love reflects patience (1 Corinthians 13:4) and our faith in God at times has to be mixed with patience to obtain the things that God has promised to us (Hebrews 6:12)
Kindness; which is a selfless, compassionate and merciful attitude; the quality of being friendly toward others that we are to reflect in our character (Proverbs 19:17; Ephesians 4:32)
Goodness; which also means benevolence, meaning to be generous or to perform acts of kindness. True to the nature of our Heavenly Father who is good (Psalms 34:8; Nahum 1:7) It’s something we have to do even to those who may be our enemies (Luke 6:35)
Faithfulness; which is to be loyal and steadfast; the fact of being true to one’s word or commitments. God is described as faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9) One day, Jesus will judge us on our faithfulness to what He assigned us to do on this earth (Matthew 25:23)
Gentleness; which means fairness, meekness and humility. God loves a humble, meek soul (Proverbs 3:34,James 4:6,1 Peter 5:5). and remember, meekness is not “weakness”. It is the ability to be ‘teachable’.
Self-control; or temperance, as the KJV describes it, which is the ability to control oneself, particularly one’s desires and emotions.
As Christian people, these are the fruits, character traits and behavioral patterns that with the help of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are to grow in our lives so that when the world looks at us, they see Christ reflecting through us. Remember that fruit takes time to grow. Don’t allow yourself to be discouraged if all of these traits are not fully developed in you yet. God is not looking for “perfection” out of us, but He is looking for us to grow into maturity. Continue to trust God to develop these traits in you daily. We all have areas that need work, including myself. I have developed the fruit of self-control in many areas of my life except when it comes to the area of food. I love to eat! However, I can say that I am little by little allowing the Holy Spirit to take control of this area of my life. Still a “work-in-progress” there! (LOL!!).