“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience ness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control Against such things there is no law.’ Galatians 5:22, 23.
The imagery of the fruit is a popular figure of speech that is frequently employed in the Bible. The analogy of the fruit was one of Christ’s favourite illustrations by which He gave vividness and meaning to His teachings. Certainly, one of the most familiar fruit analogies of the New Testament is Paul’s fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, 23. In this metaphor, Paul portrays love as a fruit, and all other Christian virtues that follow as the natural out-cropping of that fruit. The structure of the sentence, the fruit of the Spirit is love …’ depicts love as a single fruit: and all the other virtues that follow as expressions of love.
The multiple manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit may be conveniently grouped into three love triads. The first triad consists of love, joy and peace; and is primarily concerned with the Christian’s personal relationship with God. The second triad, patience, kindness and goodness, particularly relates to the Christian’s relationship to other human beings. The third triad is faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This triad has to do with the Christian’s personal life and character. Here love is primarily, though not exclusively, concerned with the character of the individual.
Hence, the fruit of the Spirit encompasses the believer’s relationship with God, with his fellow human beings, and with himself.
The focus of the fruit of the Spirit is not so much on what the Christian does or does not do; but on what he is. The fruit is what we are. It is a natural, unrehearsed expression of what we really are. In a unique sense, a Christian has no choice in bearing the fruit of the Spirit. It is as natural for the Spirit-led individual to be loving, joyful, peaceful, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled, as it is for the grape vine to produce grapes.
The crucial test of the Spirit led life is fruit-bearing. Only those who grow in Christ can produce the fruit of love. To grow spiritually is to grow in love.Excerpts from “The Fruit of the Spirit” by George W. Brown, Stanborough Press Ltd., ©1998