22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Prior to this verse, Paul had presented the vile behavior of those lost in the world (adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.) Paul then gave us this incredible view of the dramatic contrast between that evil against the goodness of the Holy Spirit!
- Love – self-sacrificing affection for others
- Joy – deep-seated gladness regardless of circumstances
- Peace – inner quietness and repose irrespective of circumstances
- Longsuffering (patience) – forbearance even under provocation
- Gentleness (kindness) – benevolence and graciousness
- Goodness – constructive action reaching out to others
- Faith (faithfulness) – reliability, trustworthiness
- Meekness – not aggressive, acquiescence to authority and consideration of others
- Temperance (self-control) – the ability to master oneself
This is quite a list of goodness! Who wouldn’t want to be around people like this? Think what this world would be if we all strived to have these qualities. It might be like heaven.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22
The elements of Christian character presented in this section (love of God, love of your neighbor, humility, etc.) are enabled in us by the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us we are to walk (live) by the Spirit, which is to yield control of our lives to him. This is obedience to the commands and will of God. This is not easy as desires of the flesh are ever-present and contrary to the Holy Spirit. But as you strive to live in the spirit, you will develop virtuous attitudes or “fruit.” These attitudes will dramatically impact your behavior and actions, resulting in a blessed life and a powerful witness for God. These winsome fruits will increase as you are sanctified throughout your life by the Holy Spirit.
- Love – self-sacrificing affection for others.
- Joy – deep-seated gladness regardless of circumstances.
- Peace – inner quietness and repose regardless of circumstances. Tranquility in the soul; calm confidence that we enjoy.
- Longsuffering (patience) – forbearance even under provocation, being slow to anger. This is often patience for a time that is longer than you want it to be.
- Gentleness (kindness) – benevolent and graciousness, this goes hand in hand with patience.
- Goodness – constructive action, reaching out to others.
- Faith (faithfulness) –reliability, trustworthiness, loyalty, and fidelity to your word. Integrity.
- Meekness (humility) – not aggressive, acquiescence to authority and consideration of others, submissive to the will and word of God.
- Temperance (self-control) – ability to master oneself.
The poof of a genuine Christian is the habitual manifestation of the fruit of the spirit in their lives. Striving to embody these elements of Christian character and to bear the fruit of the spirit is what makes us a light to the world, demonstrating a life transformed for and by Christ. How awful is it to learn that you are not sufficiently transformed in how you live for anyone to accept that you really believe what you say about faith in God?
Ye shall know them by their fruits. . . Matthew 7:16