In our most recent Go Deep Bible study, I was teaching about the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23—But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
There are four things that are notable to me in this passage:
(1) This whole section (Galatians 5:16-25) is circular. It begins with the phrase, “Walk by the Spirit,” and it concludes with, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” This tells me that our walk is never done—we never “arrive” but we must continue to walk with the Holy Spirit every day.
(2) The fruit of the Spirit is singular—it’s not “fruits” but “fruit.” That means that the Holy Spirit is working to bring out all of these nine fruit, not just one or two of them.
(3) The list of the fruit of the Spirit is also a circular list—
LOVE for God fill us with love for others → there is JOY in knowing His nearness → PEACE comes in the face of anxiety-causing tribulations → which gives me PATIENCE with others who are anxious without God → then I can have KINDNESS to draw them to God → and GOODNESS that is expressed in kind deeds → and my FAITHFULNESS that creates a sense of stick-to-it-iveness → and GENTLENESS that gives me courage to stand up for what’s right → my SELF-CONTROL keeps the fruit of the flesh in-check → which gives me greater LOVE for God and others…
(4) This whole process of producing more visible fruit in the life of a Christian is called sanctification. I like to remember this word by saying it “saint-ification.” As long as we are still on this earth, there is still work for the Spirit to do in us, so don’t ever become discouraged by this ongoing process of love.