“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22–23
Some have said that love is the single fruit of the Spirit and that the others on this list (joy, peace, patience, etc) are merely descriptions of how love plays out in our lives.
Regardless, love is certainly a forefront attribute that should mark the life of someone who has been saved by Jesus, and have given his or her life to Him. Jesus even said that everyone will know that we follow Him by our love for one another (John 13:35).
As another way to look at the importance of love, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:13: “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Paul is reminding us that faith and hope ought to be prominent pieces in our lives while following Jesus, but even those will one day go away because we will one day be with Jesus where we no longer need faith or hope, for we will be with Him… but even then, we will have and experience love.
To make love’s importance even more pronounced: Jesus told His followers to “love others as He has loved us,” which is no easy task (John 13:34).
In fact, I think it’s impossible on our own.
But let’s not forget,
This isn’t the “fruit of a person trying harder to do better…”
Or the “fruit of someone who has chosen a new life for themselves…”
Or the “fruit of someone who has experienced enlightenment and has risen to new heights…”
This is the fruit of the Spirit and only His.
Just as oranges don’t grow on pear trees…
And apples don’t grow on coconut trees…
The Fruit of the Spirit only grows by the power of the Spirit
Jesus said it best in John 15:4-5:
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
We cannot bear this fruit
We cannot do any God-glorifying act
Without the grace and presence and empowerment of Jesus and His Spirit.
As Paul wrote warned the Galatians earlier in the book:
“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” – Galatians 3:3
The tempting to think of God’s grace as only a clean slate
A fresh start
A new day
But it’s so much more than that
It has to be.
Because no matter how many “second chances” we get,
We cannot please God by simply trying harder.
As it’s been said: “Jesus didn’t come to make good people better. He came to make dead people alive.”
Let us not look at the fruit of the Spirit, even one as simple as “love” as something that we need to simply strive to do better in.
Let us remember that this love will be the outflow of God’s Spirit transforming our hearts and lives.
And, since this isn’t something we can simply try harder to do
Our next best step is simple:
We ask for God to help.
Simply ask that He would fill you with more love
Here’s some of my favorite verses to reflect on as you pray that God would fill you with His Spirit, that you would abide in His grace and that you would bear more fruit that comes from His Spirit.
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” -Romans 8:11–14
“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” -Philippians 2:13
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I [Jesus] have spoken to you are spirit and life.” -John 6:63
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 6:23
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” -1 John 4:16
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love.” -Ephesians 3:14–17