What is the Fruit of the Spirit and How Do I Grow It?
By Nylse Esahc
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-33
The Fruit of the Spirit is comprised of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). It’s like a rubber band ball tightly woven together, each band interconnected.
The only way to produce the Fruit of the Spirit is to have the Holy Spirit in you. This initial step happens when we believe (Ephesians 1:13-14). If a person does not have the Holy Spirit, she doesn’t belong to Christ (Romans 8:9), therefore making it impossible to grow the fruit of the Spirit in her life. So we receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation, when we make a conscious decision to follow Christ and let Him be the Lord of our lives.
As with any fruit, we won’t see it and enjoy it right away. We won’t see evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives the second we surrender our lives to Christ. A fruit starts from a seed and that seed contains everything for the plant to begin and produce more fruit. In order for a tree to yield fruit it goes through a cycle where it must be planted in good soil, it must be nurtured, it must have a light source; it must be watered until it reaches maturity. The fruit is initially a seed, then a seedling, then a sprout, until it’s a fruit (ripe for picking!)
Just like in nature, our spiritual growth takes time. Just like seeds, we must be planted in good soil, nurtured, watered. We must begin the lifelong work of submitting all of our life under God’s authority. We grow in knowledge of God through his Word, and grow our love of God through knowing him and obeying him. We come into spiritual community and grow under the learning of other believers. We renounce old sin tendencies and through the power of Christ’s strength, learn to walk in obedience. We die to our old selves and put on our new self in Christ Jesus.
Because the Holy Spirit is a gift to believers, He gives us the power to live fruitful lives. Christianity is not a rules-based religion. Our growth is not gained based on how much good we do, but it’s an outpouring of a relationship with a living God that forces and encourages us to live better; to aspire to be like Him; to be Holy as He is holy. Growing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is evidence of these internal changes. When we nurture our relationship with God, we have access to the Son, and we water our lives with his Word.
Growing the fruit of the Spirit is like growing a muscle. The muscle is already a part of us but we have to choose to use it if we want to see any growth. We have to exercise faith and believe that we have everything we need for growth. Our growth will make us more compassionate, more empathetic, kinder, more joyful, more peaceful, and gentler, with the common strand of love. As we choose to mature, we will see evidence of this growth and the impact it makes on others. Growing the fruit of the Spirit relies on the Holy Spirit producing His fruit in us, with the Holy Spirit's power making changes in our lives day by day.
Editor’s Note: This devotional was taken in part from What is the Fruit of the Spirit and How Do I Grow It? You can read that piece in full here.