FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
DEFINITION: The fruit of the Holy Spirit refers to the nature of the Spirit revealed in the life of the believer, spiritual qualities which should be evident in the lives of all Christians.
FACTS ABOUT THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT:
Spiritual Fruit comes through the Holy Spirit. It is the “Fruit of the Spirit”, not the fruit of self-effort. Developing spiritual fruit is a continuing work of the Holy Spirit in your life as a believer to conform you to the image of Christ. Like fruit in the natural world, you must continue to cultivate it.
Spiritual Fruit is evidence of spiritual maturity. Like fruit in the natural world, spiritual fruit it is a product resulting from the process of life. It is Christian character that is manifested in both personal and social conduct and is the evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in your life. Just as fruit takes time to develop in the natural world, spiritual fruit also takes time to develop. It is the product of growth in the life of the Spirit.
Spiritual Fruit is singular. The word “fruit” is singular. It is not plural. Spiritual fruit can be understood by the natural example of grapes. A cluster of grapes has individual grapes on it, but it is one cluster. In the natural world, when grapes are picked from the vine they are picked in a cluster. This cluster of grapes is called the “fruit” [singular] of the vine. Spiritually, there is one cluster of fruit with many individual facets.
You are chosen to bear fruit. Jesus said: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last” (John 15:16).
Jesus placed great emphasis on fruit bearing. Read the parable of the vineyard that did not yield fruit (Luke 13:6-9) and the fig tree which had no fruit (Matthew 21:18-19).
The Fruit of the Holy Spirit consists of these qualities.
-Love, an emotion of deep affection, care, and concern, an unconditional giving of self to others.
-Joy, a quality of gladness, delight, and jubilance. Happiness depends on the world around you and your circumstances. Joy originates with the Spirit of God and is not dependent upon what is going on in the world or your outward circumstances.
-Peace, a condition of quiet, calm, tranquility, and harmony. Peace is the absence of strife, anxiety, and concern.
-Longsuffering is the quality of patience, the ability to cheerfully bear an unbearable situation and patiently endure.
-Gentleness is the quality of having a mild manner that is not severe, violent, or loud. It is a quiet and respectful kindness.
-Goodness, which is demonstrated through holiness and righteousness.
-Faith, a strong confidence in God which is manifested through a lifestyle of godly works.
-Meekness, which is controlled strength.
-Temperance, which is self-control, moderation in emotions, thoughts, and actions.
Developing the Fruit of the Spirit. Jesus used the term “fruit” of the Spirit as a natural parallel of a spiritual truth. Certain conditions are necessary to produce fruit in the natural world that are symbolic of things necessary for production of spiritual fruit. In the natural world, as well as the spiritual realm, specific conditions are necessary to assure growth. These include:
-Life: Just as life in the natural world comes through seed, life in the spiritual world came through the Seed of Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15).
-Water: Water is necessary to produce fruit in the natural world and the water of the Holy Spirit is necessary to produce fruit in the spirit world. It quenches your spiritual thirst and brings spiritual growth (John 7:38-39 and Isaiah 44:3).
-Light: It is response to light that stimulates growth in the natural fruit bearing process. It is your response to the light of God’s Word that produces the fruit of the Spirit (1 John 1:5-7).
-Air: Carbon dioxide is drawn in by a plant from the air which surrounds it and is necessary for growth and fruit production. The Word of God compares the Holy Spirit to air or wind (John 3:8). The “wind” of the Holy Spirit blowing across your life is much like the wind in the natural world. It scatters the seeds of the Word of God, separates the wheat from the chaff in your spiritual life, and fans the dying coals of your spiritual zeal to set you ablaze for God.
-Space: In Matthew 13 in the parable of the sower, competition for space choked out some plants. The believer who develops spiritual fruit will discover he must be set apart from the competition of the “weeds” of the world (Matthew 13:22; Romans 12:1-2).
-Roots: Roots are necessary to anchor and supply nutrients to the plant. Psalms chapter explains how to develop the root system in your spiritual life.
-Rest: Dormancy (rest) occupies a specific season in the natural growth cycle of plants. Dormancy is a period during which the plant may appear to be dead because there is no growth. Dormancy usually occurs right before a period of very rapid growth. One of the purposes of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is to bring spiritual rest and refreshing. This spiritual refreshing results in rapid growth of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 28:11-12).
-Soil: Both in the natural and spiritual worlds, in order to produce fruit the ground must be properly prepared. In the parable of the sower in Matthew 13 it was the condition of the soil that affected the growth of the seed. Your heart is like soil in the natural world. If your heart is hard and filled with things of the world that choke out the Word of God, you will not bear spiritual fruit (Hosea 10:12).
-Death: Every time you plant a seed to produce fruit, it does not come to life unless it dies first (John 12:24; 1 Corinthians 15:36). Spiritual life depends on death to the things of the world. It requires death to sin, worldly desires, and pleasures. Death to the world results in the development of the fruit of Christ-likeness in your life.
-Attachment to the vine: In order to bear fruit in the natural world, a branch must be attached to the main plant. If the branch is broken off from the main, life-giving vine it will not bear fruit. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. In order to bear spiritual fruit we must maintain our relationship to Him (John 15:1-5).
-Pruning: Pruning is necessary in the natural world if a plant is to remain productive and bear fruit. When a farmer prunes a plant he cuts off the unproductive branches in order to make the plant produce more fruit. He removes everything which would hinder the growth of the plant. Pruning is also necessary in the spiritual world. Spiritual pruning is correction by God. The Bible also calls it chastisement. When God “prunes”, He removes from your life everything which would hinder your spiritual growth. This process is necessary if you are to bear spiritual fruit (John 15:2).
-Climate: Climate is important in developing good fruit. In the natural world, many types of fruit are developed in environments that are specially controlled. They are grown in buildings called “hot houses” at specific temperatures. They are protected from the real environment of the outside world. If you take a “hot house” plant and move it outside, it will soon die because it has lived only in a controlled environment and it cannot withstand the environment of the real world. Spiritually speaking, we do not want “hot house” Christians who look good in controlled settings but wilt on contact with the real world. Spiritual fruit should be just as evident in your contacts with the world as in the controlled settings of Christian friends and the church.
DEALING WITH THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT:
Analyze your life. Which manifestations of the Fruit of the Spirit are apparent? Which are lacking? Which need to be strengthened?
Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within you. The Fruit of the Spirit does not develop through self-effort. It develops from the resident power of the Holy Spirit within you. The Holy Spirit works with you by convicting you when you violate scriptural principles that will impede your spiritual growth.
Provide the proper environment for spiritual growth. Review the conditions for developing spiritual fruit in the preceding section and make sure you are providing a proper environment for fruit-bearing.
Remember that fruit-bearing is a process. In the natural world as well as the spiritual world, fruit develops over time with proper care. Do not become discouraged if you don’t always seem to manifest the spiritual qualities of the Holy Spirit in challenging situations. Ask God for forgiveness when you fail, and then ask Him to strengthen you in the areas in which you are weak.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT:
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Psalm 1:3)
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise (Proverbs 11:30)
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:8)
Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:17-20)
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33)
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. (Luke 8:14-15)
He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'” (Luke 13:6-9)
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:1-6)
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. (John 15:15-16)
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:16126)
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8-10)
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name (Hebrews 13:15)
(For further study obtain the Harvestime International Network course “Ministry Of The Holy Spirit” available at http://www.harvestime.org)