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. 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.
How to Develop the Fruits of the Spirit
The only way to develop the fruit of the Spirit is to walk with the Spirit of God. Similarly, the only way to develop the lusts of the flesh is to walk according to the flesh.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another” (Galatians 5:16-17)
This verse reveals that the Spirit and the flesh are in opposition to one another, so if we walk in the Spirit we cannot fulfill the desires of the flesh.
This is a promise from the word of God. It is more sure than the law of gravity. This means that it is possible to walk with God to such an extent that sin has no dominion over us and the lusts of the flesh can do nothing but attempt to tempt us.
But if walk according to the flesh and according to its desires then we will not fulfill the fruit of the Spirit, instead, we will fulfill the sin of the carnal man.
This is a promise of God but it is also a law of God. Those that walk with His Spirit through relationship and fellowship with Him will be free from the law of sin and death, but those who decide to walk after the flesh and the things of the world will fulfill the sin of the world.
Take a look at this passage in Romans 8 closely.
“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?].
I hope you enjoyed the article and that it assisted you in your walk with God.
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