“He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit”…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering. (John 15:5 and Galatians 5:22)
As we abide in Christ, spiritual fruit develops in our lives. This occurs as the Holy Spirit applies the grace resources of God to our inner man. This spiritual produce then appears as godly character in us.
Love is the primary indication that we are trusting the Lord to bring forth fruit in us. “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” In fact, some see love as the singular fruit, with joy, peace, etc., as aspects of that love. This is divine love (“agape” love), a love that flows from the heart of God. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God” (1 John 4:7). Such love is not stirred by the “loveability” of the object. It is a unique, heavenly love available only from the Lord.
“The fruit of the Spirit is… joy.” Joy is gladness of heart, an inner spiritual happiness that does not depend upon circumstances. It is a spiritual delight in the Lord that is always available, no matter what is happening around us. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
“The fruit of the Spirit is… peace.” This peace is related to a cessation of hostility between parties. It affects our relationship with the Lord. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). It also impacts our relationship with others. “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both [i. e., Jew and Gentile] one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us” (Ephesians 2:14). This peace also involves a spiritual calm and tranquility within our hearts. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
“The fruit of the Spirit is… longsuffering.” Longsuffering would include patience and forbearance. It would embrace a willingness to forgive and to not seek vengeance. “Put on…longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another” (Colossians 3:12-13).
Note carefully; we do not produce these qualities by our capabilities. This fruit is a work of God in us: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering….”
O Lord, my hope and my sufficiency, I readily confess that at times I am unloving, joyless, strife-torn, or impatient. Lord Jesus, I want to abide in You. Please work in me by Your Holy Spirit. Bring forth this beautiful spiritual fruit of Christlikeness in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.