Holy Spirit can be considered as one fruit with nine parts as developing all the nine attributes makes the soul holistic and establishes a connection with God. The fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Howard). Letting the listed attributes into life helps to live in accordance with the Holy Spirit.
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The message that the Bible conveys is the importance of learning how to love God, ourselves, one another, and even our enemies. As we are fallen humans, love is limited, and we need to work with the Holy Spirit for it to enter our personality; only after that, love is possible. By letting a Christ into your life, a person allows him to help, heal and restore, so “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (New King James Version Bible Ephesians 3.16-17). He can also increase it to a certain degree so an individual can feel a blissful state from knowing and serving God.
Fruits of the Spirit
Love is considered the most important and sacred fruit of the holy spirit. Love is a strong feeling that all humans seek to give and receive, but few ever encounter true love. However, God’s love is greater, transcending human emotion, and flowing through him towards mankind via the Holy Spirit. It is said, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4.8). By experiencing and learning about love from God Himself, it begins to define humans and transforms people spiritually as they realize the tremendous Love that God feels for them as for Christ to sacrifice Himself for humanity’s sins. After all, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3.16).
Joy in the context of the fruit of the Spirit is referred to both grace or gift and the expression of joy. That joy comes from the gifts or acts of God throughout the Bible. In modern day, that joy is found in following Christ and being united in mind and spirit with other faithful. In the Bible, it says, “”Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1.2). Life will bring both happiness and tribulations, and joy should be felt and recognized when the grace of God is felt, such as an illness being healed. However, true joy must be felt no matter what in the Giver, who is always present rather than the gifts themselves.
In the biblical sense, peace goes beyond the modern understanding of avoidance of conflict. As the fruit of the Spirit, peace is referred to a connection and trust in God. Having peace means believing in God and His plan even when life seems difficult. Peace also means finding confidence with self and working to resolve differences with others. Therefore, peace is not referring to avoidance or ignorance, but even encouraging to go into conflict to create peace by reconciling, by giving back, by being the peacemakers. It is written, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5.9). Pursuing peace is one of the most difficult of challenges for the faithful, but through the Holy Spirit, we are able to find it in one shape or another and attain a connection with God.
Longsuffering as a gift of the Holy Spirit shares its meaning to patient and endurance. It is a virtue that is meant to counteract anger and irrationality, which are exemplifications of hate or revenge. Longsuffering is meant to be a manner of self-control and rationality to avoid falling into the traps of anger, resulting in sinful and self-centered attitudes. “The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1.20). Instead, longsuffering guides people towards love which as described earlier is a connection with God and faith, for “love is patient, love is kind…” (1 Corinthians 13.4).
Kindness is a direct representation of the divine kindness that God has towards humankind. In turn, Christians are expected demonstrate kindness by acting towards others as God acts towards them. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4.32). Through kindness, our human nature is becoming filled God’s spirit, allowing to receive the gifts of God. Kindness is caring, it is the first step to compassion and forgiveness. It is a complex action that may involve generosity, mercy, attention, and even self-sacrifice. However, through kind words and actions, one finds the Spirit and lets go of hateful thoughts.
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Goodness is a concept that is referred to commonly in the Bible. God and His creation is good, a man can be good as well. Goodness refers not only the quality of being good or moral virtue, but a life lived for Christ and accordance to the Scriptures. Since humans are made in the image of God, then we are inherently good if not corrupted by sin. As said in the Bible, “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, [a]but he who does evil has not seen God” (3 John 11). No human is without sin but attempting to overcome that nature to live righteously is goodness. The fruit of goodness allows a sinful person to do and be good, thus achieving the essence of God.
Faithfulness refers to not only the concept of religious faith, but the ability to trust God completely and the ability to be reliable in our faith and to others. In a way, it is a commitment and faithfulness are highly valued. God’s standard of faithfulness goes beyond our human understanding or even capabilities, but the most devoted are able to achieve wholehearted faithfulness, allowing for the Holy Spirit to guide us and dwell within us. “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11.3). It is faith that allows Christians to grow and obey God and build a relationship with Him, similar to the prophets and saints in the Scriptures.
Gentleness also translated as “meekness” refers to the spirit and attitude of being humble and wanting to help others, demonstrating kindness rather than attempting to establish superiority. For humans which also seek power in one form or another, gentleness is difficult to achieve, particularly towards those who wronged us. “Let your [a]gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4.5). However, gentleness does not suggest weakness, but rather a balance of strength and kindness, also closely tying in with forgiveness. The same God is gentle with us in sin and correcting our path, Christians are expected to demonstrate this virtue towards others.
Self-Control is the last of the listed fruits of the Holy Spirit not because it is the least important, but rather it is the capstone needed to exercise the other eight virtues. A journey that begins with love must be continued with self-control to achieve the connection to God, patience, faith, and kindness, among others in daily lives that consistently bring up challenges and temptations. Paul describes this struggle with the need to bring “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10.5). Humans by nature lack self-restraint, and self-control is vital to avoid the sinful temptations that surround us in daily life and divert us from the path of God.
The Bible dictionary describes peace as “The presence and experience of right relationships.” (Bradley). Without peace, a person becomes easily rattled and tormented. The fourth fruit is longsuffering, which is also translated as “patience” in some Bible versions, both of which are associated with endurance and means the opposite of anger. (Hooser). Kindness and goodness are closely related, and “God demonstrated His kindness and goodness to us in our salvation (Titus 3:4)”. (Howard). Faithfulness is consistent obedience to the Spirit, who allows us to be faithful. Gentleness is a grace of the soul, and self-control is the ability to resist to “works of the flesh” (Howard).
A person who let Jesus Christ into his heart can be a perfect example to the believers as he/she represents the power of the gifts that God can give if the person believes. By promoting each fruit and establishing a connection with God, people are enduring God; hence, they endure themselves and the world around them.
Bradley, Michael. “Love – Fruit of the Spirit Bible Verse.” Bible Knowledge. 2018, Web.
Hooser, Don. “The Fruit of the Spirit – Longsuffering.” Beyond Today. 2008, Web.
Howard, Kathy. “What Are the Fruit of the Spirit?” Crosswalk. 2018, Web.
The Bible. Authorized New King James Version, Thomas Nelson, n.d. Web.