GALATIANS 5:22-23 (NKJV)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Greetings TTP family!! We are delighted to have you back with us. Today marks the beginning of an exhilarating new expedition into the book of Galatians. In our previous blog post, we delved into the identity of the Holy Spirit and investigated some of the figurative expressions employed by ancient scripture writers to portray the Holy Spirit and His significance in our lives. Our next three posts are devoted to examining the Fruit of the Spirit. Although you may have some familiarity with this topic, we invite you to join us as we explore it further
In our opening scripture, we encounter a comprehensive list known as the Fruit of The Spirit, encompassing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is crucial to highlight that despite the expectation of multiple fruits, the use of the singular “fruit” is intentional. This signifies that these qualities are not meant to be viewed as separate entities but rather as interconnected aspects that together form a nine-part fruit, akin to the segments of a tangerine. Each segment represents an element of what it means to live a life transformed and guided by the Holy Spirit. The Fruit serves as the tangible outcome of being led by God’s Spirit and stands as compelling evidence of a life genuinely surrendered to God, reflecting the character of Christ.
The term “fruit” translated in Greek as “karpos,” carries the meaning of “the end product, consequence, or visible expression of something.” Hence, the Fruit of The Spirit represents the visible outcome and result of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. This Fruit is inherently connected to the Spirit and bestowed upon the believer who wholeheartedly surrenders and permits the Spirit to transform them from within.
Paul mentions the Fruit of the Spirit in contrast to the preceding verses, which describe sinful acts, such as sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, and drunkenness. The flesh, or our human desires, often obstructs God’s Holy Spirit from leading us fully. Therefore, the Fruit of the Spirit is both a warning to avoid the works of the flesh and an encouragement to embrace the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.
Before we delve in, it is important that we understand that the Fruit of the Spirit is not a checklist of individual virtues to be achieved, but rather a composite representation of the character of Christ produced in the lives of believers by the Holy Spirit. It reminds us to seek the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in our lives so that we may bear the Fruit of the Spirit in its entirety.
That being said, the reality we experience in our lives may deviate from this ideal, and as we reflect on ourselves, we might discover that we possess only some or none of the qualities mentioned. In light of this, it is important for us to sincerely seek intervention or assistance from the Holy Spirit. Proverbs 3:5-6 advises us to wholeheartedly trust in The Lord and not rely solely on our own understanding. It encourages us to submit to Him in all aspects of our lives, and in return, He will guide us on the right path. As children of God who grow up in different environments and possess different temperaments, we must acknowledge that we cannot achieve this standard by ourselves. Therefore, it is crucial that we turn to the one who has the power to help and transform us. It is worth remembering that the presence and work of The Holy Spirit in the life of a believer are seen by the manifestation of these qualities and as we discuss each aspect individually to gain understanding, we are reminded that these qualities are not meant to be observed in isolation. The Holy Spirit desires to bring about a complete transformation in your life, without any reservations or half-heartedness. Romans 8:5 summarizes this by highlighting that those who are driven by worldly desires focus their minds on satisfying those desires, while those who live in accordance with The Spirit have their minds set on fulfilling the desires of The Spirit.
Additionally, a mindset focused on fulfilling the desires of The Spirit signifies a commitment to becoming more like Jesus, which necessitates the presence of the fruit in our lives. Ultimately, a mindset centered on fulfilling the desires of The Spirit is characteristic of someone who has cultivated or is in the process of developing a relationship with Him. Such a person can humbly and honestly recognize the areas in which they fall short and seek The Holy Spirit’s guidance and transformation, trusting in His wisdom and power to accomplish what is necessary.
The most ignored but impactful part of this passage in verse 23 is that we are told that “Against such there is no law.” This implies that the presence of the Holy Spirit within us renders the legal obligations and consequences of the law obsolete; as a result we are no longer under God’s condemnation.
However, if you want to delve deeper into the topic of the Holy Spirit and His significance in our lives, we invite you to read our blog post titled “The Holy Spirit: Breath, Wind, Fire”.
In this blog series, we will be diving into the nine aspects of the Fruit of The Spirit. Howbeit, today, let us focus on love, joy and peace.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love…”, and this occupies a strategic position at the top of the list. Love is not only the defining characteristic of God Himself, as 1 John 4:8 reminds us, but also the ultimate mark of a true believer, according to Jesus in John 13:35. Furthermore, love serves as the foundation for all other virtues, making it the logical starting point for Paul’s exposition on the fruit of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 13:13). The great Catholic theologian and philosopher, St Thomas Aquinas defines love as “the choice to will the good of the other”. While this definition lacks the romanticism and emotional connotations that we often associate with love, it much more fully encompasses and expresses what love is in its fullness. The Greek word Paul uses for love, “agape,” connotes a selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional type of love that is not based on feelings but on choice and commitment.
When asked which is the greatest commandment, Jesus does not give a one-word answer but instead quotes the Shema, the central confession of faith in Judaism, and affirms that the two greatest commandments are to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:28-34).
We might ask ourselves which is more important, loving God or loving our neighbor. According to Jesus, the answer is both! The reason is that loving God and loving our neighbor are not mutually exclusive, but rather two sides of the same coin. We cannot claim to love God if we do not love our neighbor, and we cannot truly love our neighbor without loving God.
But you may wonder if this kind of love is realistic or achievable. Have you ever found yourself falling short of this standard? If so, don’t worry, because the Holy Spirit and His fruit are available to help us. The fruit of the Spirit is a supernatural expression of the life of Christ in us, enabling us to love as He loves and to overcome our natural tendencies towards selfishness and sin. So, take heart and trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to transform you into a more loving and Christlike person
“The Fruit of the Spirit is … joy” and the Greek term used by Paul for joy, “Chara”, is linked to the word “Charis” which means grace, which represents gratitude for being forgiven and accepted by God. The joy referenced here is not based on circumstances but is rooted in our identity as children of God. Therefore the true evidence of God’s grace is an inward sense of joy that persists regardless of our circumstances. Although joy is often associated with happiness, it is much more than that. Joy is a profound and enduring state of our inner being that cannot be taken away by any external circumstance, event, or person. It means finding delight in God and choosing to rejoice in all circumstances, regardless of how difficult they may be.
Our mood does not depend on our circumstances because they do not control us. As a result, we can remain content in any situation, even when we’re not feeling particularly happy. Joyful people do not allow negative emotions such as misery, sorrow, sadness, or despair to dictate their thoughts or actions. This is especially important for believers who have the Holy Spirit within them and have their lives, decisions and actions surrendered and directed by God.
But can we realistically rejoice always, as Philippians 4:4 instructs, or even when facing various trials, as James advises us without the Holy Spirit? I dare say no, it is true that a smiling face may not always convey joy and could instead be concealing feelings of depression. However, it’s important to note that there is a remedy, as the Spirit brings forth His Fruit, the result is an overflow of joy. Hallelujah!
“The Fruit of the Spirit is … peace” The Greek word for “peace” is “erene”, though the Hebrew word “shalom” means more than the absence of strife, but also includes the idea of wholeness, health, balance, reconciliation, etc. In addition to the idea of having peace with God, shalom implies the peace of God, which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Above all, peace is God’s gift to us, as a gift from Himself to His disciples, In John 14:27, Jesus tenderly assures his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” These words from our Savior further emphasize the truth we have already explored: the fruit of the Spirit and its components are not achieved through human effort. In fact, attempting to attain them through striving only leads to frustration and despair, which is contrary to the very essence of what we are meant to experience.
Jesus’ words resonate deeply as we delve into the component of peace within the fruit of the Spirit. This peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding, is a gift that Jesus offers freely to those who abide in Him. It is not the fleeting peace that the world offers, dependent on external circumstances, but a profound inner tranquility that flows from a surrendered and trusting relationship with God.
Understanding the nature of this peace is crucial because it redirects our focus from self-reliance to reliance on God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spirit within us. We are reminded that peace, like the other components of the fruit of the Spirit, cannot be manufactured or achieved through human striving. Instead, it is a fruit that blossoms naturally as we surrender to God’s will and allow His Spirit to work in our lives.
In Romans 5:1, we learn that through our Lord Jesus Christ, we can have peace with God. This peace is not only evident in our ability to be free of anxiety (Philippians 4:6–7), but also in the harmonious relationships between those who love and know God. This type of peace should be visible in our homes (1 Corinthians 7:12–16), within the church (Ephesians 4:3; Col 3:15), and in all of our interactions with fellow believers (Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14). As Christians, we are called to actively pursue this peace (1 Peter 3:11), which is a Fruit of the Spirit.
It’s truly remarkable to understand the significance of peace and to recognize the immense mercy of God in making it a part of our lives. However, our pursuit of peace seems to be a never ending process, and as believers living in a chaotic world, we often find ourselves struggling with anxiety. Nonetheless, we can find comfort in knowing that the peace we seek is not fleeting or hidden from us, but is freely given and always available to us because we have the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!
As we come to the end of our first blog post exploring the fruit of The Spirit, we find ourselves captivated by the extraordinary qualities of love, joy, and peace. These foundational components lay the groundwork for a life that is deeply rooted in God’s presence and marked by His transformative power.
In our upcoming blog posts, we will continue our exploration of the fruit of The Spirit, unpacking the remaining components that contribute to a life fully surrendered to God’s transformative power. May the love, joy, and peace of the Spirit abound in your life, drawing you closer to God and enabling you to be a beacon of His light in a world that desperately needs it.
Until next time, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always. Amen.
The Timothy Project… Presenting everyman perfect.