The Fruit of the Spirit


Galatians 5: 22, 23 -- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians chapter five describes in detail the difference between walking by the flesh, and walking by the spirit. Galatians 5: 19, 20, and 21 list the 'fruit' of the flesh. They include adultery, strife, idolatry, murders, and more. These are the types of things we don't want in our lives, so we will concentrate today on the fruit of the spirit.

First, how do we obtain this fruit of the spirit? It is not something we can go and buy at the grocery store, so having money does not help us. Also, it is not referred to as the fruit of good works, so we don't get it by volunteering, giving money to the poor, or other works. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't do good works, but that's not how we get this fruit of the Spirit. When we are born again (born from above), we receive the gift of holy spirit from God [See ROMANS 10: 9, 10]. It is the proof that we are now His children. To obtain the fruit of the spirit, we must operate the nine manifestations of the spirit. It is like growing a fruit tree in your back yard. You have to water it, feed it, prune it, keep the pests off it, and finally you get the fruit. It doesn't happen immediately -- as soon as you plant the tree. You don't see it as soon as you are born again -- when you receive the gift of holy spirit. The manifestations of the spirit are detailed in I Corinthians Chapter 12.

I Corinthians 12: 1 -- Now concerning spiritual gifts  [matters], brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

In the King James version of the Bible, words added by the translators are in italics. The words in italics were not in the old Greek or Aramaic texts. In this verse the word 'gifts' was added, and it has caused much confusion with Christians. By leaving the word out of the verse, we see it is better translated as 'spiritual matters'. So first we must realize that chapter 12 is describing spiritual matters, such as the manifestations. The manifestations are not 'gifts'.

I Corinthians 12: 7 -- But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

Every born again believer has the ability to operate the nine manifestations. The next three verses list the manifestations: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, believing (faith), gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. By operating these manifestations as much as possible, we water and feed our spirit, and so we obtain the fruit.


1. LOVE is the first fruit listed in Galatians 5: 22. This is the Greek word 'agape', which means the 'love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation'. This is the love that God has for us, and which we can now manifest toward others.

Romans 5: 8 -- But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Even when we were unlovable, God loved us and allowed His son to die for our sins. We are to love others with this same love, even if sometimes they are unlovable too. This will not be difficult for us if we live after the spirit, and not the flesh.

Ephesians 3: 17, 18, 19 -- That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Ephesians 5: 1, 2 -- Be ye therefore followers [imitators] of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

2. JOY is the second fruit of the spirit listed. Joy isn't just happiness, caused by external events. Joy is an inside job, where you can be joyful inside even if your external circumstances aren't so rosy.

Romans 14: 17 -- For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Romans 15: 13 -- Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

In the previous two verses, we see that joy is often paired with the next fruit of the spirit -- peace.

3. PEACE is a state of quiet and restfulness, and once again, it is an inner state. We can sometimes find peace by sitting in a quiet place, but it may not last for long. If the neighbor starts up their lawnmower, our peace and quiet is disturbed. But the peace we attain as 'spiritual fruit' is not so easily interrupted. We can be in the noisiest, most unrestful place in the world, but we can still be peaceful inside.

Romans 5: 1 -- Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Romans 8: 6 -- For to be carnally minded is  death; but to be spiritually minded is  life and peace.

Philippians 4: 6, 7 -- Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep [guard] your hearts and minds through [in] Christ Jesus.

The peace of God is so great that we cannot understand it.

Colossians 3: 15 -- And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

4. LONGSUFFERING is the next fruit mentioned. It is described as 'patient endurance'. God is longsuffering toward us, and we are to be longsuffering toward others. Every person's walk with God is different, and just because they don't do things the same way we do, or learn as fast as we do, doesn't mean that we should be impatient.

Ephesians 4: 1, 2 -- I Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

We see 'longsuffering' paired with another fruit (meekness) in this verse.

Colossians 1: 11 -- Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness [joy];

Colossians 3: 12, 13 -- Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do  ye.

These verses include three fruit of the spirit: longsuffering, meekness, and gentleness (translated here as 'kindness').

5. GENTLENESS is the next fruit mentioned. This is defined as kindness toward others, even in spite of ingratitude on their part. We saw it used in Colossians 3: 13 above, and it is mentioned with yet more fruit of the spirit in the New Testament.

II Corinthians 6: 3, 4, 5, 6 -- Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things  approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness [gentleness], by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

6. GOODNESS can be described as 'moral worth'. If we walk after the spirit of God, and not the flesh, we will do good, and be good.

Ephesians 5: 9 -- (For the fruit of the Spirit [light] is  in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Romans 15: 14 -- And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

7. FAITH is mentioned next and is the Greek word pistis, which actually means 'believing'. By walking in the spirit, and operating the manifestations of the spirit, our believing grows. As a result, we believe more of God’s Word. We then manifest more power and the more than abundant life. Faith or BELIEVING is obviously a most important fruit of the Spirit.

I Corinthians 2: 5 -- That your faith [believing] should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

II Corinthians 5: 7 -- (For we walk by faith [believing], not by sight:)

Ephesians 1: 19 -- And what is  the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Ephesians 6: 16 -- Above all, taking the shield of faith [believing], wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

From these few verses, we see the greatness of believing in the life of a Christian. Hebrews chapter 11 lists the 'Hall of Fame' of the Old Testament believers, and the greatness they achieved by believing. The same and greater is available to us today.

8. MEEKNESS is a word that is often misunderstood in the Bible. It does not mean that someone is spineless or wishy-washy. Meekness means that we are 'teachable'. A person who is teachable lacks an attitude of haughty self-sufficiency. In the first place, we know that our sufficiency is of God (See II Corinthians 3: 5). Secondly, we know that God the Creator certainly knows more than we do, so we go to Him in meekness, wanting to learn more.

I Timothy 6: 11 -- But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

James 3: 13 -- Who is  a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation [conduct] his works with meekness of wisdom.

One verse that shows the true importance of meekness in a Christian is the following:

James 1: 21 -- Wherefore lay apart [put off] all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

9. TEMPERANCE is the final fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5: 22, 23. Temperance means to have self control. The more spiritual we are, the more control we have over our actions and thoughts.

Titus 1: 7, 8 -- For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men [things], sober, just, holy, temperate;

II Peter 1: 5, 6 -- And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

I Corinthians 9: 25 -- And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate [exhibits self control] in all things. Now they do it  to obtain a corruptible crown [garment]; but we an incorruptible.

This last verse uses an athletic analogy to make its point. An athlete training for the Olympics is 'temperate' in all things. They train every day, they eat the best foods, they listen to the coach. They have a great deal of self control, because they are trying to be the best and win that gold medal. But a gold medal is only temporary. It can be lost or stolen, or melted down until it is unrecognizable. But the crown we as Christians obtain for being temperate is eternal life. Our crown is 'incorruptible' [See related teaching on 'The Five Crowns'].

We have reviewed the meaning of the nine fruit of the spirit as listed in Galatians 5: 22, 23. To obtain this fruit we need only to live a spiritual life, operating the nine manifestations of the spirit. By feeding and watering our spirit, we grow more fruit, and will have a bountiful harvest.

Galatians 5: 22, 23 -- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.