When you are born again you receive the Gift of Holy Spirit; you become a new creation, a new man, because a spiritual seed is placed inside you. When cultivated and grown this seed blossoms into a tree that bears spiritual fruit.
The amount of fruit you bear is dependant on how much you tend to the seed and grow it... meaning, how close you are to God and how much you are doing His word. This fruit manifests itself in the following ways:
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness and Temperance; against such there is no law.”
Let’s get to know each manifestation of the fruit of the spirit in better detail. Depending on how many of these manifest and at what level of activity or intensity will show you how close to God a person is.
The primary key to everything. Along with temperance (self-control), love is a bookend that helps hold the other fruit in place. It is a love that surpasses human understanding and causes a person to be filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:18-19). Its divine characteristics are detailed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails".
The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. Joy gives spiritual strength. Heb 12:2 says, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God".
Primarily, peace with God. When we are sinners doing the works of the flesh, we are rebels against God. When our rebellion ends and we are forgiven, then we are at peace. This kind of peace doesn't come through laying around on vacation, entertainment, drugs, alcohol, sex or wealth. The spiritual fruit of peace results from being justified by faith. Romans 5:1 says, "Therefore, since we have been justified [made right; declared innocent or guiltless] through faith [in what Christ accomplished for us on the cross], we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ". We must learn to maintain peace in three important relationships:
We maintain peace with God by believing and trusting Him and by not sinning. We maintain peace with our fellow man by not allowing strife to be a part of our relationships with other people. We maintain peace with ourselves by being happy with who we are and by refusing to live in self loathing, guilt, or condemnation.
Long and patient endurance of injury, trouble, or provocation. Like when someone angers you or picks on you. But then you just let it go and you maintain your self control. Longsuffering is love on trial. It enables you to be emotionally strong and forgive others. Colossians 3:13 says, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”
Being moderate, kind; the absence of harshness or severity. The Apostle Paul illustrates gentleness by the example of a mother feeding her babies (I Thessalonians 2:7).
Moral excellence; virtue. God is the ultimate example of goodness. Goodness is holiness put into practice and results from knowing God. Goodness enables you to do good to those who hate you (Luke 6:27) as well as those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). It is the goodness and grace of God that leads people to repentance. That's why we need to be good to people. Our witness won't have any power unless we are kind to others. We are called to be light in a dark world, and we must make up our minds that we are going to shine!
A better translation is "faithfulness", the act of being faithful. Doing what you say you are going to do. Being known as someone people can trust because you are reliable. Webster's Dictionary defines faithful as "maintaining allegiance; constant; loyal; marked by or showing a strong sense of duty or responsibility; conscientious; accurate; reliable; exact.
Humble and patient. Meekness is not being mousy or weak, but rather a servant-like submission to God and others in your care. Your spirit is free from rebellion and pride. Meekness or humility is defined as "freedom from pride and arrogance; modest estimation of our own worth." Humility or meekness is the opposite of pride. The Bible says in I Peter 5:5 that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. And Psalms 37:11 plainly states that “the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
Self-control; Moderation or self-restraint in action or statement; It is control over your entire being (body, soul and spirit). A person who has self-control is mild and calm, avoids extreme behavior, and exercises self-restraint in both actions and speech. After all, temperance and love are the bookends that hold all the other fruit in place.
So now you know what exactly Jesus meant when he said in Matthew 7:20, “Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.”
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