Digging Deeper into the Word Spiritual Development Studying the Bible

Living Out the Fruit of the Spirit

Author: Rachel Kidd

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23  

What are the Fruits of the Spirit?  

My mom often quoted Galatians 5 to me and my little brothers growing up, often when we were whining or fighting with each other over the remote. Basically, whenever we were demonstrating the opposite of the Fruits of the Spirit, is when she reminded us of their virtue.  

And she was correct, of course, as she always is. The Fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I had them memorized as a kid, and I could still rattle out the song for you today. They’re all wonderful virtues and you;d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would argue that. Everyone wants their children to embody these traits, but the process of fostering them is the much greater challenge.  

 Instilling the fruits of the spirit in your children, or in yourself as an adult, is certainly more involved than singing a song. It requires consistency, great love, and most importantly, relationship with God. To be human is to fall short of the glory of God and the fruits of His spirit, but his Son allows us to commune with the saints. In other words, the fruits of the spirit are the harvest of a deep relationship with the Holy Spirit.  

How do you become more loving?  

John 15:12: My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 

Jesus commands us to love each other self-lessly, as He first loved us. Jesus is the perfect model of love; deep, abounding, grace-filled love that we so desperately need.  

How do you become more joyful?  

Romans 15:13. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. 

This verse tells us that God is the source of all hope, peace, and joy that can only be found in believing in Him. The Holy Spirit is the conductor of sorts, the power to imbue us with overflowing joy.  

How do you become more peaceful?  

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 

Much like Romans tells us that God is the source of peace, this verse tells us that God can unburden us from our anxieties. He has the power to take those crippling fears, doubts, and worries off of our shoulders because He cares for us. Free from anxiety, we can rest peacefully in the knowledge that our God has our back.  

How do you become more patient?  

Proverbs 14:29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. 

This Proverb reminds us of the virtue of patience, calling us to be slow to anger. It is of course easy to lash out when we’re upset, to hurt others when we feel hurt. I have often said things out of anger to people I love that I immediately regret. This verse warns me of this habit and reminds me of how foolish I feel after a tense argument.  

How do you become more kind?  

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 

Being kind is not being nice. It is deeper and genuine than surface-level niceties. This verse reminds us of the power of kind and encouraging words from our friends. Words have the power to tear down and destroy, but also the ability to bolster confidence and make you feel invincible. Let us use our words wisely and carefully; to be kind.  

How do you become good?  

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 

Goodness comes from God, and how do we become more like Him? Just like our Savior forgives our sins and desires a relationship with us, so we can forgive the people in our lives. As difficult as it may seem to forgive people who may have hurt us deeply, forgiveness can lighten our own emotional burdens and improve our relationships.   

How do you become more faithful? 

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 

Sanctification, or the process through which a relationship with God changes us, involves confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness. Only God can forgive sins and only He can make us whole.  

How do you become more gentle? 

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 

Like catching flies with honey, responding to the world with gentleness is often the most effective. Not only that, but it is godly as well. To meet the cruelty of life with sweet softness is a radical way to show God’s love.  

How do you become more self-controlled?    

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 

Not to say that being a Christian is synonymous with timidness, this verse reminds us of the power of Christ. He emboldens us as his church with power, not necessarily physical power, but internal. His Spirit is one of careful self-control and overwhelming love and as we grow in our faith, so we flex our spiritual muscles.  

The Fruits of the Spirit do not grow spontaneously. Rather, they produce fruit from careful cultivation through a deep relationship with God. We cannot expect a full harvest of Fruit without working the land. Growing our faith, and our Fruit, requires study of the bible, fellowship and communal worship with other believers, and prayer. These are the farmers’ tools.