Galatians 5: 16-16
We bear fruit because of the Spirit that lives within us. John in his gospel reminds us that we are the branches, Jesus is the vine and it is our connectedness to Him that allows us to bear fruit, (John 15:1-5) therefore fruit is:
- We show the character of God as we grow in our relationship with Him. It is His character, which will flow out of us.
- Bearing fruit is the inevitable result of abiding in Christ and walking by the Spirit.
- These fruits are internal; they are the resets of our default behaviors when we say yes to walking by the Spirit and no to the works of our fleshly desires.
- Here’s a closer look at the fruits of the Spirit.
The first three can be seen as God expressing Himself outwardly through us since each of them is a direct result of his presence and promises.
Agape – love. It means to serve and give of ones self without using people, but to seek after their good. The opposite is fearful self-protection, which allows you to abuse people reflecting your own selfish ambition.
Chara – joy, enjoying the completeness the Father gives you in giving you Himself. This differs from happiness because joy is foundational to who and who’s we are in Christ. Joy is not conditional while happiness is circumstantial. The opposite is hopelessness and despair.
Irene – peace, is the confidence and rest that comes from the Father. Remember that Jesus is the Prince of Peace and speaks peace to our hearts. It is the wisdom and direction of the Father directing our lives. It speaks to and replaces anxiety, worry, apathy, and fear.
The following three can be seen as our personal growth in Christ, shown through our relationships with others.
Makrothumia – patience, this actually means long or large patience. Sometimes called long suffering. Makro means large, Thumia is patience with people. It’s calming down so as to not blow up when facing trouble or belittling the people around you. The opposite of this is resentment, cynicism, exasperation, and annoyance with people.
Chrestotes – kindness is the ability to serve others practically and genuinely with joy. The opposite of this type of kindness is area attitudes of envy, jealousy, and manipulation.
Agathosune – goodness, good and with are found in this word, Literally virtue at every point. Our modern day equivalent would be integrity, being the same person in every situation, whether good or bad. The reverse would be phoniness or being a hypocrite.
The last three show our freedoms in relation to the world around us. Here too, we are showing the character of the Father who abides in us.
Pistis – faithfulness, loyalty to God, yourself and others. One has the courage to stand firm in the face of opposition. To not do so would make one an opportunist, unreliable and as the Apostle James says a person of two minds who is never willing to confront or challenge.
Prautas – gentleness, humility, considerate, self-mastery, as in having ones passions and emotions under control. Think of this gentleness as strength under control. This type of gentleness is not weakness or spinelessness.
Egkrateia – self-control, this is the ability to take control of ones self, rather than to be impulsive, destructive and uncontrolled. The opposite of this is to be proud and ego driven.
As the Apostle Peter reminds us, we are growing and fruitful in the kingdom, when the fruits are shown and increasing in our lives. (2 Peter 1:8)