Most people understand fruit. It is something which grows on a plant: a tree, bush or smaller plant. Every plant will produce only one sort of fruit, i.e. you can only have an orange fruit growing on an orange tree, and apple on an apple tree, and blackberry on a blackberry bush etc.
It is also likely that sometimes fruit from these specific trees are always really sweet, or very sour. You can’t have bad fruit on a good tree, or good fruit on a bad tree (unless they have been attacked by insects or birds in which case individual fruits may be good or bad, but overall the tree maintains the same kind of fruit).
The fruit of the spirit is something that every Christian should be bearing.
As we know, if something is new, it has to be different from the old. As with a new computer, vacuum cleaner etc. It will be similar, but it should be a more improved version of the original item. When we become Christians, this is what happens. We will still be the person we were, but gradually we will become a new person, because that is the work of the Holy Spirit: to make us into a new person.
When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit will come to live with us and within us, and will begin to change us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Before people become Christians, there will be things in their lives which are not nice, characteristics or attitudes that will change when we become Christians. Maybe we were rude, disobedient, filled with hate, anger, resentment or bitterness, impatient, cruel, jealous, argumentative, and many other things. These things are called the acts of the flesh, the sinful nature. There is a list in Galatians 5:19-21.
Fruit of the Spirit
The writer of Galatians, the apostle Paul, then goes on to tell us what the fruit of the Spirit is.
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These 9 things together are the fruit of the spirit.
The work of the Holy Spirit is to make sure that we, as Christians, are producing this fruit. This is how we know if someone is a real Christian or not: we will be changing all the time. These nine characteristics show us what God and Jesus are like, and God wants us to be transformed to become more and more like Jesus. There are many verses that tell us this. Here are two:
- Romans 8:29 “For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
- Colossians 3:10 “and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”
The fruit of the Spirit is not just one thing. It has nine parts, we cannot pick and choose what we want as we would from a fruit basket. As Christians, we need to submit and surrender to God so that these nine characteristics will be seen in us, and everyone around us will be able to see the change. This is proof that we really are God’s children and that the Holy spirit is at work in our lives. We can ask God to help us to develop one of these things more than another, i.e. maybe we are really angry with something and feel we can never forgive them. This is a time when we can ask God to help us with this issue.
We need to remember that this is the fruit of the Spirit. We cannot try in our own strength to show improve, or show this characteristics more and more. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to produce his fruit. Just as a tree cannot try to produce different kinds of fruit. It will only bear the fruit that it was made to bear. If left to ourselves, the fruit we bear will always be anger, selfishness, pride etc. We need God’s help to bear his fruit instead.