Understanding the Fruit of the Spirit

… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23.

The moment we become born again, our old life has passed away and a new life with God awaits us. This new life entails us letting go of our past characteristics and embracing new characteristics in Christ. In order to embrace this new life, we have the Holy Spirit in us that helps and guides us to make the right choices and act right. Simply put, the Holy Spirit is our guide. 

In our new journey as Christians, it is possible that one may slip into old ways and find his or her way back to Christ; that is fine. But there is a certain level we reach in our faith that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are conscious of the fact that there are certain ways we are permitted to act.

We are transformed individuals and there are certain attributes that we should exude. In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he detailed the attributes that Christians should possess, which are listed as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. With the help of the Holy Spirit and your yielding to the spirit of God, every Christian should possess all these characteristics listed above. 

I know for a fact that all these may actually seem like a lot of work. Well, it is, but understand the fact that our journey in Christianity isn’t something that we can rely on our own strength for. Our consciousness to walk with the Lord and the holy spirit at work in us are factors that can help us achieve this. And as we know, with the Lord helping us through the comforter, there isn’t anything we can’t achieve. 

Let us study the Bible more closely so that we can gain a deeper understanding of these qualities.  

Love, the first attribute mentioned, is one of the greatest concepts in Christianity. Not only is it the greatest commandment mentioned in the scripture, it was the basis of Christ dying for us. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this—that someone lay down his life for his friends. Love as a commandment was given to us in two folds, first, we should love the Lord our God and second, we should love our neighbours as ourselves. 

Matthew 22:34-40. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” The last statement shows us the importance of love; it says that all the law and the prophets—that is, basically everything—hang on the commandment.

The next is Joy. Joy, as I would explain it, might mean an advanced form of happiness. The joy in the scripture is the joy that comes from knowing the Lord. In different verses of the scripture, the concept of joy is a gift from God that transcends circumstances and is deeply rooted in one's relationship with Him. 

Psalm 16:11 (NIV): "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." This verse highlights the source of true joy as being in the presence of God.

Peace, the third attribute mentioned, is a state where there is stillness and it is beyond the things of this world. The peace that we have in God is the one that surpasses all understanding, as seen in Philippians 4:7 (NIV): "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 

The concept of peace and joy reminds me of one of my favorite songs by Maverick City. The lyrics are: … I've still got joy in chaos. I've got peace that makes no sense. It just goes to show that when you have peace and joy from God as Christians, it is the highest form you can ever get. This form is not anything this world can give and as such, we must live our lives with the consciousness that God has given us peace and joy. Remember the words of Jesus in John 14:27 (NIV): "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.

Next is forbearance. The dictionary meaning of this is patience, self-control, restraint, and tolerance. As Christians, in our daily dealings, it is possible we face circumstances that may tempt us to flair up, but since we are who we are in Christ, flaring up isn’t an option. This is where forbearance comes in—the ability to tolerate people regardless of the circumstances. 

In Ephesians 4:2 (NIV): "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." The Bible urges believers to patiently tolerate and bear with one another out of love. 

Looking back at all these points that have been listed above, this is a call for every individual and that includes me, to scan their lives and see if they are lacking in any of the attributes a Christian should possess. If one is lacking in any, now is the right time to ask the Holy Spirit for help and guidance as you navigate life as a transformed person. 

All these attributes are important and as I finish up the explanation of the remaining fruits of the spirit in the next article, I want us to keep this in mind. As children of the Lord that aren’t given to flesh, people should be able to tell from your behaviour that you are a transformed person. If they can’t tell, then a change is needed.

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