The Fruit of the Spirit
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 & 23
I remember when I first understood this verse. I’d memorized it and tried for years to produce this kind of fruit in my life. It was written on a plaque over my stove and I reviewed it often.
I had a large family and was a busy mom. I knew I wasn’t doing a very good job of loving. I didn’t know what joy was. My home was chaotic, not peaceful and I’d regularly run out of patience, kindness and gentleness. As I saw it the only thing I was any good at was faithfulness to my husband and children.
The Light Slowly Dawns
One day as I looked at the plaque, I was bemoaning my lack of obvious fruit, confessing my sin of impatience and unkindness once again after yet another episode of barking at the kids.
I stopped suddenly in the middle of stirring the pot on the stove when I heard a near audible voice say, “Read that plaque again.”
So, I began to rattle off the line “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
“Can you read it more slowly, please.”
“Ok,” I replied, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…”
“Stop. Again, more slowly,” the voice interrupted.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love.”
“STOP!” more sternly. “Now one more time SLOWLY.”
With a sigh I began, “The fruuuuit of the Spiiirrriiiit.”
“Stop,” the voice interrupted yet again. “Did you get it?”
“What?” I cried exasperated. I had no idea.
The Simple Lesson
“It says the fruit of the SPIRIT. It does not say the fruit of you. If you want more patience and love, then ask the Spirit to grow some.”
On that day a light dawned in me. There I was trying to produce what only the Spirit of Christ can give. Since that day, I experienced times when only a prayer for more fruit in my life saved a relationship. This was most evident while I was raising my children. I remember one day particularly when I was tired and one of my children was particularly defiant and rebellious. I wanted to throw her out the window but managed to have enough self-control in me to command her to go to her room so that I would not act on instinct. As she ran up the stairs she announced to me that I was a horrible mother. Ouch.
I chased her up the stairs to deal with her. I was arrested mid-way and felt prompted to ask for a boost of patience. By the time I reached her room, she had thrown herself onto her bed screaming into her pillow.
I knelt beside the bed and silently asked the Lord to grow more fruit in me. I immediately felt calmer. A new atmosphere of peace seemed to flow into the room. My daughter stopped screaming and her shoulders began to shake. I was wondering what was going on so I asked her. “Sweetheart, what are you thinking?”
She suddenly jumped up onto her knees with a big smile on her face. “I just want to hug you mommy,” she giggled. I cannot explain the transformation that just happened before my very eyes. Not only did I enjoy a new measure of spiritual fruit in that moment, but so did she.
With a new perspective on these nine “fruit of the Spirit”, I began to see the difference between love according to the Spirit and love according to mankind. The Holy Spirit is very giving. Joy is not related to circumstances and neither are the rest of the fruit.
May you invite the Spirit of Christ into your life and discover all the wonders of His fruit when they start growing in you.