The only way to Develop the fruit of the Spirit is to walk out our daily life in connection to the Spirit of God. The fruit of the Spirit does not come from us or from our natural abilities. It comes from the Holy Spirit who is within us, so the only way to have Him manifest Himself through us is to yield to Him through relationship.
This is what the apostle Paul meant when He said,
“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)
Paul tells us here how we are to bear the fruit of the Spirit. He says, that if we walk in the Spirit then the natural byproduct will be the character traits of the Spirit of God. These will begin to manifest themselves in our lives.
Jesus said something similar when He said,
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)
Notice how both of these passages have extremely similar terminology. Paul says, “Walk in the Spirit.” Jesus says, “Abide in Me.” And both say that if we do this then we will bear fruit.
Also notice, the “abiding” and “walking” is to be done with a Person. Jesus tells us to abide in Him for without Him we can do nothing. This means that the success of our fruit-bearing is solely determined by our effectiveness in our abiding.
If there is no abiding then there is no fruit because the fruit does not come of ourselves, but from the One who gave Himself.
Another important point to realize is the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. The New Testament mentions this on multiple occasions but the best verse that reveals this is Romans 8:9.
“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”
Paul used the terms Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ interchangeably in this verse.
So when the Bible tells us to walk in the Spirit, we can flip that and say, “Therefore, walk in Christ.” It means the same thing because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ.
I say all of this to say that the passage in John 15 is referring to the same event as Galatians 5, with slightly different terminology.
Since we have established that, now we can finally know what it means to walk in the Spirit or to Abide in Christ.
The reason is nowadays we have the tendency to hyper-spiritualize things so sometimes this results in overcomplication of scripture and then scripture loses its practicality. So if I tell someone to “walk in the Spirit”, it sounds too spiritual to be attainable, but if I tell someone to abide in, or with, a Person then it becomes much more practical.
Abiding in Christ is walking with Christ. Walking in the Spirit is walking with the Spirit. It is us walking in a relationship with God. Taking the time to talk with Him, worship Him, study His word, ask Him questions, seek His guidance, etc.
Drawing near to Him through fellowship on a consistent basis is the key to walking in the Spirit and abiding in Christ, and if we do this God promises to grow the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
The apostle Paul actually explains this process in Romans 8.
“2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
“3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
“4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
“5 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.
“6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
Notice, we were under a law called sin and death. Every single one of us was born into sin, therefore we were under this same law. No matter how hard we tried we would live in sin all the days of our life and sin would have its way in us and we would eventually die.
But now, Christ has come and has cursed sin in the flesh and has established a new law called the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”
What this means for us is that we now have the ability, through the Spirit of God, to bear the fruits of the Spirit and to fulfill the Old Testament law. No longer are we bound by the law of sin and death because we now have an opposing law (Spirit of life in Christ Jesus) upholding us and enabling us, so long as we walk according to this new law.
So how do we walk according to this new law? Or another way of asking it is, how do we develop the fruits of the Spirit?
When we walk in the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus we are walking in the Spirit, therefore, we will bear the fruits of the Spirit. And Paul has already established that when we bear the fruits of the Spirit we fulfill the Old Testament Law because “against such (fruits) there is no law” (Galatians 5:23).
Let’s look at Romans 8 again, specifically verse 5.
“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.”
This verse tells us exactly how we are to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. [Related article: How To Walk/Live in the Spirit (Complete Guide)].
Instead of setting our minds on the things of the flesh and of the world, we are to set our minds on God and be consumed with the Spirit of God.
We are to be so infatuated with God, His word, His power, His will, His mission, etc. that we pursue and stay focused on that first. Then everything else will be given to us.
His Spirit will begin to bring life to our mortal bodies, which will enable us to overcome the desires of this sinful body, and we will walk in holiness.
So on a daily, moment-by-moment basis, we need to engage with God through fellowship. We don’t walk in the Spirit by saying “I will do XYZ and then the fruits will come.”
That is no different from the Old Testament Law and I promise you, you will fail.
God is the One who is our sanctifier. He is the One who develops the fruits of character through the work of His Spirit.
So instead of “doing” something to get a result, we come before God and fellowship with Him and allow Him to transform us.
This is what Paul meant by “We all, with unveiled face, 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)
It is the Spirit of God who does the work to transform us back into the image of God. The only thing that we need to do is unveil our faces.
What does this mean?
It means getting alone with God on a consistent basis and building a relationship with Him the same way Moses did.
Moses veiled his face in the Old Testament because his face would shine due to spending a long time with God and the people would get scared. But whenever he went before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take the veil off and commune with God.
We should do the same. And only through doing this are we able to be transformed.
So I encourage all of you to spend time with God. Talk with Him. Ask Him for things. Worship Him. Study the Bible. Fast every once in a while. If you do this, the Spirit of God will transform your life and you will develop the fruits of the Spirit in your life. [Related article: Can You Talk to the Holy Spirit? If so, How do I do it?].
Benefits of the Fruit of the Spirit
Walk in holiness. The fruits of the Spirit are holy (Galatians 5:16 & 22-23).
Be like Christ. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ so His fruit is Christ’s character traits.
Result of walking in the Spirit. In other words, you would grow in your relationship with God (Galatians 5:16).
You would be completely selfless. Love is selfless and the first fruit of the Spirit is love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
No offense or unforgiveness in your heart. Love takes no account of a suffered wrong, and love is the first fruit of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
You’d be a great spouse, parent, child, friend, or co-worker. These fruits would make you a better individual in every sphere of influence (Galatians 5:22-23).
You would live free from sin. Those that walk in the Spirit fulfill the fruits of the Spirit but they also don’t practice the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
You would be truly happy and at peace. Peace and joy are a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
You would maintain a healthy weight. Self-control in this passage is referring to self-control in regard to food and drink (Galatians 5:22-23).
You would be free from addictions of all kinds. Self-control would free you from addictive behavior (Galatians 5:22-23).
You could endure trials, persecutions, and temptations. Patience in Galatians 5 is actually referring to “long-suffering” (Galatians 5:22-23)
You would grow in faith, and miracles would follow your life. The word “faithfulness” is not the actual word found in the Greek language. The word is “pistis”, which is consistently translated as faith throughout the New Testament.
I hope you enjoyed this article and that it assisted you in your walk with the Lord.
If you want to read more articles on the fruit of the Spirit, you can do so by clicking one of the articles below.
God bless you all and enjoy!