I think when you were studying “The Fruit of The Spirit“¸ one thing you might have noticed that Paul is not saying fruits here but fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23)
● WHY FRUIT NOT FRUITS?
The Greek word for fruit is “karpos” means one fruit, not many, or different types of fruit. Paul is not naming different kinds of fruit that the Spirit gives, instead he is describing the different characteristics of the grace the spirit works in us. Just like a diamond has a different type of facets, one diamond but many facets. Like that it is one fruit but different characteristics.
● CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FRUIT –
> SELF CONTROL
Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself, love is so important in our life because we can have callings, anointing, gifts of the spirit but if we don’t have the fruit of Spirit that is love then we are nothing (1Cor 13:1-2). Jesus said love your father (God) by your whole mind, heart and soul. To make God happy and pursue him, we need love.
We should be joyful even in the problems, struggles, circumstances not only when we are happy or life is going as we want. Paul was rejoicing and worshipping God even in the prison. Joy comes from the above and we should ask to God and have this joy every time in our life.
Jesus is the Prince of peace. People want peace, so they spend a lot of money to bring peace in their life but they can’t bring it because they don’t know actually where the peace is. However, who has Jesus in their heart they have peace but sometimes we don’t feel peace in our hearts because we get surrounded by all worries and worldly problems but Jesus said give me your burden and I will give you rest. What does it mean by “Rest”, it means I will give you peace. So if we have any worries then we should take those worries at the feet of Jesus and get His peace.
Forbearance means patience. Patience is important to fulfill God’s purpose. because if we don’t wait or if we take quick decisions without asking God or without the help of the Holy Spirit then we may end up with frustration and guilt. Even God has the patience for sinners to come to him (2 Peter 3:9). Our goal is to be like Jesus so we should have this patience in our life. Not only in ministry but it is very important for our daily life.
Showing kindness and being generous is like being an example of Jesus. In Marathi language word for kindness is “MAMTA”. It means showing love like a mother’s love for her children. Mother’s love has no selfishness, wrong motive towards her children, she does everything by her whole heart. So we have to have kindness without any wrong motive, wrong intention towards people. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each another, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Goodness is like being good to people. As far as I know people don’t want to act well with unknown people because they don’t belong to them. Jesus said love your neighbor like yourself but the question is who is our neighbor? The neighbor is the one who is in the world, he can be a bagger, poor, sinner, other religious people. Jesus didn’t mention about that neighbor who lives in front of our house but rather who is living with us. So be good to everybody and show Jesus’ nature by your examples.
If I want to tell how much faithfulness is important then I would say – if someone is not faithful then it’s impossible for him to Please God. Because without faith we can’t make God happy as well as men. God cannot give any responsibility to that person who is not faithful, but He loves to bless and lift the person up who is faithful (not perfect but faithful ). There are many examples in the Bible and in the World, to whom God lifted up because they were faithful to him (Ex. Abraham, Joseph, David, Ruth, Daniel, Moses, Billy Graham, many more) being faithful means being obedient. God loves obedience than sacrifice.
Bible says – with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition (2 timothy 2:25) so gentleness is needed when opposition comes or some people stand against us, because we should not answer them by anger, pride but with gentleness. The Bible tells us that if someone is caught in sin then restore that person gently (Gal: 6:1) As a leader or minister of God, we need gentleness to restore and teach people.
● SELF CONTROL
This is the last characteristic of the fruit and Paul is telling us to control our flesh. In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul is talking about the works of the flesh which we should not have in our life. We need to control our selves otherwise we may not enter in the kingdom of God because in verse 21 says who does works of the flesh, he is not worthy of His kingdom. so we must say “yes” to Spirit and “no” to flesh. We should bring our flesh into discipline like Paul used to do daily.
● HOW TO GROW THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT?
If we want the fruit to grow then we need to follow what the Holy Spirit tells because it grows by Spirit not by men. We have to surrender our lives to the Holy Spirit. Then Spirit starts to show where we are weak and tells us to take the right decisions. We need to be connected to Jesus like branches are connected to tree then only fruit grows. It takes time to grow the fruit and it grows fully with all characteristics. Tim Keller says – “The real fruit of the Spirit always grows up together, they are one. So we cannot say that only half part of the fruit is growing in us like some of the characteristics are growing, No, the fruit is one so it grows up together. But in order for it to grow, we need to walk in his presence and obey Him.
As a Christian Paul had to practice some things so that he may not fall down (1Cor 9:25-27) it needs full obedience and cooperation with the Holy Spirit. We all have seen that an apple doesn’t come directly but some process is there like firstly it starts with a small seed then it needs a good soil then it goes inside the soil then it comes out as a small plant then it needs water to grow up then once it becomes a big tree then it starts to bear fruit that is a full apple. The same process is here, the Fruit of The Spirit needs good soil that is surrendered heart and then it needs water to grow up that is fellowship with God and following and obeying Holy Spirit.
● HOW TO MAINTAIN THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT?
To maintain it we should ask his grace every day because by our strength we cannot fight our battles but with him everything is possible. Paul says – So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Gal 5:16) so we must walk in Spirit to maintain it and to say “no” to the flesh.
I believe whoever has this fruit in their life, they are impacting people on another level because this fruit is not a joke or an optional but it’s a necessity for the disciple of Jesus Christ. Yeah, it takes strong commitment but it’s not impossible because His grace is sufficient for us, yes, we have to go through the process but it’s possible. So, Friends, I want you to ask this fruit from the Holy Spirit and walk with Him and get filled. because this fruit creates our identity in our ministry and in the world. Jesus said by their fruit you will recognize them, people will recognize us by which fruit we are carrying, it can be the fruit of the Spirit or The Devil’s false fruit, So let’s take a strong decision and grow the fruit of the Spirit,
GOD BLESS YOU