A man once made
up his mind to live a life more close to the word of God. He sat down and wrote out a list
of the qualities he desired in himself. They included calmness, selflessness,
etc. As he wrote, it occurred to him that his list sounded like the "fruit of the spirit"
in Galatians 5:22-23. "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control". These are the qualities that God has already
established for those who want to live according to His will.
But why should we exhibit
"fruits of the Spirit"? Because God loved us enough not only to send Jesus to
die for us but to send the Holy Spirit as a comforter and guide after Jesus ascended to
heaven (John 14:16-17). As Christians, we should always strive to live a life that
demonstrates that the Holy Spirit dwells in us. Its not enough to believe the
Christian doctrine, to get baptized, to go to church, or to work in ministry.
God wants us to have evidence or fruit of the Holy Spirit. As the Bible says,
"You shall know a tree by its fruit " Matthew 7:20. So if we are really servants
of Christ, our life ought to reflect these fruits from Galatians 5:22-23:
Love: This is not just romantic love, and not just attachment to one's own
family. God's kind of love means having a genuine concern for others - coworkers,
neighbors, and people we encounter in public. It's the propensity to look for the good in
others, think the best of others, and going out of your way to help someone.
Joy: The bible says to "be joyful always" (1 Thess 5:16). And you can
be joyful even in trying times by setting your mind on things above and not on things of
the earth (Colos. 3:2). Just thinking about the glorious time when believers will actually
be in the presence of our Lord, is enough to make us joyful. Sometimes joy means pressing
your way through tears, trials, and pain by singing, praising, and dancing all by
Peace: This is manifested in two ways. One: we have a peaceful demeanor free
from anxiety and stress. Two: we live peaceably with all people. How do you find the peace
of God? Think about good things. The Bible says that when we think about things that are
good, noble and excellent Gods peace will be with us. (Phil. 4:8)
Longsuffering: This does not mean that God wants us to suffer. Rather it means
patiently enduring wrongs or difficulties. "Count it all joy when you face trails of
many kinds because the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:3.
"Those who suffer according to Gods will should commit themselves to their
faithful Creator and continue to do good." 1 Peter 4:19.
Kindness: This is easy to master. Simply be nice (Colos. 3:12). Use good manners
by saying thank you and please. Treat others as you want to be treated, or better yet,
treat others as you want them to treat your mother or your child.
Goodness: "Therefore as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all
especially those who are of the household of faith" Ephesians 6:10. This scripture
tells us to be good to everyone, but especially our fellow Christians.
Faithfulness: We should be filled with faith because "Without faith
its impossible to please God" (Heb 11:6). The Bible also says that "the
just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in
him" (Hebrews 10:38). God wants us to believe even though we cannot see or touch Him.
By faith alone we must believe that He exists. Furthermore, our faith should fuel our
diligence in seeking and serving Him.
Gentleness: Have a calm and humble attitude towards others. "And the
servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach,
patient". 2 Tim 2:24
Self Control: A person with self control is one that abstains from drunkenness,
fornication, outbursts, lewdness, wild partying and the like. (Ephesians 5: 1-21;
Galatians 5:17-21). Self-control means calmness, discretion and propriety.
While it may not be possible to perfectly reflect each of these characteristics every
day, this should certainly be our goal. We should each be a tree that is always bearing
the fruits of the spirit.