What are the fruits of the Spirit? What is their purpose?
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are the character traits of the Spirit of God that is in us. They are called fruits mainly because they are a byproduct of our relationship with the Holy Spirit. The fruits consist of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Their purpose is to consume the believer with the virtues of Heaven and replace the sinful activities of the fall of man.
When mankind sinned against God in the Garden of Eden they lost the pure nature of the image of God that resided on the inside of them. And instead of bearing the image of God man bore the image of the devil, which was the birth of sin entering the Earth.
Now that Jesus has come, this sinful nature can now be reversed through the work that Christ accomplished on the Cross. Jesus did all of this “to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
What was lost was the relationship between God and man and the nature of God within man.
This is why Jesus called salvation being “born again” (John 3:3). Because we have all been born into sinful nature, we need to be reborn into a new nature, the nature of Christ.
So after someone decides to repent of their sin and get baptized they begin a process that scripture describes as “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
In essence, this is exactly what the fruit of the Spirit is. It is the manifestation of the Spirit of God through the born-again person who learns to yield and be sanctified by the Spirit of the Lord.
I have an article that discusses this topic much more in-depth. You can check it out here: How to Live Under the New Covenant (The Only Way).
How do we receive the Fruits of the Holy Spirit?
We receive the fruits of the Holy Spirit by first being born of the Spirit, which is the moment someone decides to turn from their sin and have faith in Christ. At this moment that individual has received the fruits of the Spirit.
Now, of course, this new creation is not your body becoming new because if you were skinny before you got saved, you’ll be skinny after you got saved. And it isn’t referring to your soul because your soul is your mind, will, and emotions, and the Bible makes it clear that the believer has to cooperate with the Spirit of God to have the soul renewed (Romans 12:1-2, James 1:21).
So this new creation that happens in the believer’s life, happens in the person’s spirit. This is why when someone gets saved they have brand new desires. They no longer have the desire to pursue worldy lusts, rather they begin to have a yearning for the things of God. This is how the fruits of the Spirit are received.
Where do the fruits of Holy Spirit come from? How do I grow them?
The fruits of the Holy Spirit come from the Spirit of God that is in the believer, so the only way to grow them is by living in connection with the Spirit of God. Some ways we can do this is by spending time with Him in prayer, reading the word of God, and even dedicating certain times to spend in fasting.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:16 & 22-23).
The Bible makes it clear that the fruits of the Spirit and the lusts of the flesh are in direct opposition to one another. But the one thing that they are not in direct opposition to one another is in the way that they are produced – in this way they are similar.
The apostle Paul reveled this when he said,
“The righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:4-5).
As you can see from the above passage, the results of the flesh is a result of the individual setting their minds on the things of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit are a result of the individual setting their minds on the things of the Spirit. (Related article: 10 Ways to Keep Your Mind Stayed on God)
Some simple ways to go about setting our minds on the things of the Spirit is by spending time doing things that enhance our relationship with God. Such as prayer, reading the word of God, and even fasting from time to time. (Related article: How Fasting Helps Your Relationship With God)
This is in addition to avoiding things that can go against our relationship with God. When I say this most people think I am talking about sin, and while this is true it is not exactly what I am referring to. I am talking about everything that carries the ability to distract or weaken your affection toward God.
Of course this means getting rid of sin, but it also means limiting things that are not necessarily sinful but that add no value to your walk with God. Things like sports, games, books, movies, etc. Its okay to spend a little time watching a game of football, but it is not okay to be so obsessed that your checking the scores of five games every 10 minutes.
A person who fails to fill their day with communion with God and the reading of His word will fail in bearing the fruit of the Spirit. (Related article: How to Walk in the Spirit)
What is the difference between the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit?
The main difference between the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit is that the fruits are meant to produce character in the individual believer. While the gifts of the Spirit are meant to give the believer power to influence the people around them.
This is clearly evident in the list of both the gifts and the fruits. The list of the fruit of the Spirit is as follows: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Now contrast those to the gifts of the Spirit, which are: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, gift of faith, gifts of healings, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:7-10).
As you can see, the nine fruits are all character traits that the Holy Spirit will produce in the individual believer as he/she walks with Him, and the nine gifts are all divine manifestations of God’s power that the Holy Spirit will release through believers as they walk with Him as well.
Another key difference is how the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit are received.
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are received through the new birth (a.k.a salvation), while the gifts of the Spirit are received through receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit. (Related article: When do we Receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit? (Explained).
We know this because of how the Bible refers to the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit.
For example, love is the first fruit of the Spirit and the Bible says that by this “we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren” (1 John 3:14). In another place, Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
Another fruit listed in Galatians 5 is peace. And Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace…”
However, when it comes to receiving the gifts of the Spirit, or God’s power, Jesus says, “you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:5 & 8).
I have an article that covers everything you need to know on the topic of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. You can find that article by clicking here.
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