The fruit of the spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23 have been a nice, sweet way for me to see how God’s alive and well in me… until I read them in a manner that draws out the meaning of each word just a bit more. You can’t deal with these attributes as a checklist of simple, 4 letter words. They carry much more meaning. Check it out (or read them in parallel on BibleGateway)
Love: Affection for others
Joy: Exuberance about life
Patience: A willingness to stick with things
Kindness: A sense of compassion in the heart
Goodness: A conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people
Faithfulness: Involved in loyal commitments
Gentleness: Not needing to force our way in life
Self-Control: Able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
It’s all too easy to look at the list of single words and say “do I have these” and just go “check, check, check.” When the meaning is drawn out a bit, and I really look inside and say, “God, are these flowing out of me? Are these the ‘fruit’ of the tree of MY life,” it is a much more convicting thought.
The Spirit cannot be pigeonholed, and neither can the fruit of His work in our lives. It must permeate everything we do, or nothing. I’m challenged to examine my heart a bit deeper today.