The fruit of the Spirit is something that we talk a lot about, but what does it really mean? While much is written and theologized on the subject, I’m inclined to look at it more simply. First of all, the list of characteristics that Paul gives in Galatians do not define multiple fruits, but components of the same fruit. In other words, it’s one fruit that is multifaceted and manifests in different ways. Some days love will be the dominant flavor, and other days, peace and gentleness will be primary, but all of them will be evident in some measure. In fact, the different qualities cross over, and one tends to give rise to the others. This is why I’m leery of religious people who can’t laugh at a joke or have a good time, because happiness is on the flip side of love and goodness. While certain folks may appear to embody kindness and self-control, if they lack joy, something is awry. On the other hand, if someone lives and laughs like there’s no tomorrow but doesn’t have the ability to control their impulses, that’s just as much a problem. The Spirit’s work is holistic, and it stems from the state of the heart. If the seeds of the Gospel have taken root and are well watered by the Word, the fruit will grow, and — like the most delicious apple ever cultivated — will be vibrant and durable on the outside, and refreshing, juicy, and nourishing on the inside.
My friend, your life is a field to be harvested for God’s glory. When you invite Him in and give Him room to work, He will grow within the soil of your heart a satisfying crop that feeds your spirit and fills you with an array of good fruit that can be shared. By clinging to the Vine and rooting yourself in His grace, your branches will ripen and overflow with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control — virtues that sustain you and bless others!