The Fruit of the Spirit
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
Without getting too far sidetracked from the main purpose of this book, which is to give you the straight gospel start to finish, I would like to spend a little time discussing what life as a Christian should be like. This is called living the “Spirit filled” life. This chapter only scratches the surface; entire books have been written on just this subject.
I just want to point a few things out, so you can watch for them; some expect to get a warm fuzzy tingly feeling when they are born-again, but at least for me, there was no “feeling”; frankly, I don’t feel much different than I ever did, it was just an intellectual and emotional decision to commit my life to Christ. It is by watching for these signs of a changed you, that you know He is indeed working in, and through, you now with His Spirit.
Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, life won’t be all smooth sailing once you are born again, but your demeanor should at least start to be exhibiting the characteristics of the “fruit of the spirit,” which include:
- Meekness (Biblical meekness does not mean timidness)
- Forgiveness (forgiving others as you were also forgiven!)
- Not Judging Others
You won’t see changes happening all at once, instantly; they occur with hard work and perseverance over the life of a Christian as one of continued sanctification (being made to conform to the image of Christ); sanctification continues throughout your lifetime up until death. You will see these changes happening however as you mature, which the prior chapter really should have encouraged you to do as quickly as possible.
Generally, the world should also start to be able to tell that you are indeed “different”, a changed person, now living for Christ; if there are no changes, which should be visible to others, that is a huge red flag that your commitment to Christ is not where it needs to be.
And be not deceived, others around you are, and will be, watching your life, especially those who do not yet know Christ. Your life is now a living testimony that either glorifies Christ or embarrasses Him. Also, as a Christian, remember that you are:
- An “Ambassador” for Christ, and a
- Priest (part of a royal priesthood), and a
- Witness (to others)
The idea that some are priests and the rest of those in Christ should follow those priests is not Biblical. Every born-again believer is a priest in and for Christ! That is what it’s all the more important for you to not remain as a baby Christian, to mature, so you can help guide others.
One item on the list that you can actually feel however is the peace of God as it descends on you at times; in fact, The Peace of God booklet I wanted to write to help others understand this remarkable gift of the Spirit. Anxiety has no part in the life of a Christian; for the Christian, all anxiety is a lack of faith and trust in the Lord. Note that I’m not talking about physical fear here, nor behaviors caused by chemical imbalance or medical issues. I’m talking about the anxiety that nearly everyone has in today’s world. I suffered from anxiety terribly all my life. It wasn’t until I realized what it was, a lack of faith in the Lord, that it went away completely.
The biggest changes for me were in the areas of personality, where I became more tolerant, patient (although that has been an extreme test for me), less vulgar (of speech and talk), not participating in “course jesting” (repeating dirty/crude jokes, nor even laughing at them around others any longer, for they are not of Christ), and calm/peaceful as you trust in the Lord, instead of other men or yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I still fall sometimes and mess up horribly at times. But even then, I just get back up, commit myself to doing better and let His Spirit continue making me better, for it is written: “His lovingkindness and compassions never fail, they are new every morning.” So, no matter what – keep going, pressing into Christ even harder when you need to.
Regarding not judging others, note that correcting and rebuking others for harmful false teachings and doctrine is not being “judgmental”; it’s called telling the truth. The Lord will judge them by their own words. I owe it to you to call them out on their false teachings, for they are harming the glory of Christ, and causing many to fall and stumble.
One other change you will notice is that as you draw closer to Christ, in maturation, you see yourself worse and worse in comparison at times; this is a good thing! You are starting to see how wretched we really are as humans. You are starting also to understand the conviction of the Spirit as it points these things out to you. This helps also with the matter of continual repentance, which a Christian does even after being born-again and initial forgiveness of sins. Scripture says that when you confess your sins (as a believer), “He is just and righteous to forgive them.” Paul writes about the constant struggle he had with the “natural man” (his old fleshly self) even after his conversion.
Please don’t misunderstand what he is saying as an “excuse” or license to still commit sin; that’s not his point. His point is that the natural flesh is still sinful in nature after conversion and will be until death. We struggle mightily against it after being born-again and will until death. It won’t be until we are raised up in our glorified bodies that we will be free from the effects of this fallen sinful world.
Remember, true repentance (which you did) means a conscious willful prolonged effort to turn away from and avoid sinning, period. Through the grace of Christ, you’re much more able to do this now that you are born-again of the Spirit; in fact, you’re only able to do this through the power of Christ, for the natural man has no inclination or ability to do the things that Christ commands and enables.
As you see changes occurring in yourself, you really get a nice feeling. The most important thing to do also is to really trust the Lord Jesus to lead you; He will never leave, forget or forsake you. He has already been victorious, and He promises to change you into His likeness. This cannot be completed this side of death while we are in these mortal bodies but know that His word will never fail.
Also, as you begin to “seek the things which are above” and “dwell [think] on things which are true, honorable, right, pure, etc.” and desire things that are worthy of Christ, you will find that He will “give you the desires of your heart,”, for they are worthy and noble. How amazing!
It is also written that “let ‘Yes, [be] yes’ or ‘No, [be] no’”. So be true to your word, honest in all matters, dependable to do what you say you will do with integrity, just like God does. Remember others are watching you very carefully to find even the slightest hint of hypocrisy, lies and other actions which are not in accord with your claim to now be a Christian, an ambassador for Christ. Walk worthy of your God and King. Your witness in this way through your behavior and actions often speaks louder than anything else you do to the lost.
And the biggest area of all I think is that you should have and exhibit a feeling of true praise, gratefulness and thanksgiving to the Lord, for redeeming you from death to life. What a wonderful gift to receive, wholly underserved, and we should all be forever mindful and grateful, daily thanking the Lord, no matter what comes our way. I’ll just let some Scripture verses speak to this topic now, and then we can proceed with the important subject of obedience, a key element in obtaining final eternal salvation. In addition to the verses listed below, the verses listed Perseverance chapter are also of high relevance to this chapter.
False Teaching(s) You Will Encounter:
- Saying the “sinner’s prayer” “saves” you forever to eternal life, no matter how you live your life thereafter (i.e. even if you don’t repent and lead a changed life, nor are obedient to Christ, nor prove your faith through works, nor persevere in faith unto death)
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. – Galatians 2:20
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. … But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. – Galatians 5:16-17,22-25
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. – Romans 7:14-25
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. – 1 John 2:1-2
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? – Matthew 7:1-3
But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:29-32
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting [dirty/crude/sexually suggestive joking, etc.], which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. – Ephesians 5:1-5
Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. – Ephesians 5:11-12
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. – Ephesians 5:15-21
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. – Romans 6:16-19
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8-9
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:1-8
But being full of the Holy Spirit, he [Stephen] gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God…They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep. – Acts 7:55,59-60
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. – Colossians 3:5-10
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. – Colossians 3:12-17
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2
The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:24-26
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. – 1 Peter 2:9-10
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!”
For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone. – Psalm 91:2,11-12
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him. – Psalm 28:7
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday. – Psalm 37:1-6
And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. – Acts 13:52
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. – 1 John 1:5-10
[Note: these verses apply to those who have already born-again, as we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ our mediator, whereby if we sin, not willfully or deliberately as a continuing lifestyle choice, we repent and He is faithful and righteous to forgive us. I’m including the verse here for completeness, but this is something you will do on an ongoing bases in your Christian walk, until death.]
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. – 1 John 4:16
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. – Ephesians 4:1-6
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:23-24
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. – Zechariah 4:6
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. – 2 Corinthians 5:20
“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil. – Matthew 5:33-37