The Nine-Part Fruit
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.Galatians 5:17-23 NIV
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The Spirit-fueled development of Christ-like character is liberating, because it brings us closer to being the people we were designed to be, the people our Spirit-renewed hearts want us to be. – Tim Keller
The Fruit of the Spirit is listed in Galatians 5—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These qualities make up the Fruit. There are not nine different fruits—it is a nine-part Fruit. The Fruit is like an orange, and inside the orange, there are numerous slices. So, imagine that each slice of the orange is one of the aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit.
The original Greek word for “Fruit” in Galatians 5 is karpos, and one definition means “a result of something.” When the Fruit of the Spirit is displayed in our lives, it is a sign, or result, that we are being led by the Spirit of God. Just like the branches of a grapevine have to be connected to the vine in order to bear grapes, the Fruit of the Spirit is evidence of being connected to Christ.
Why was the Fruit of the Spirit even mentioned? Because of the five verses preceding it. They mention sinful acts including sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, and drunkenness. You see, we have this thing called the flesh, and it is all of our human desires. Our flesh wants things that prevent God’s Holy Spirit from leading us fully. In fact, Galatians 5:17 says, “the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.”Bottom line: you can be led by the flesh, or you can be led by the Spirit of God, but you can’t be led by both—they are in constant conflict.
Probably the most beautiful part of the passage in verse 23 is that we are told there is “no law against them.” In fact, it would be true to say that we can exhibit the Fruit without any limits or restrictions. We can never show too much love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Now, that’s a goal to strive for!
With each day of this Plan, we’ll go into greater detail about the nine parts of the Fruit, distinguish it from spiritual gifts, and learn how to fully live by the Spirit. As we grow in our understanding, we’ll recognize how the Fruit is manifested in our lives and in the lives of others as well.
- Do you feel the war between your flesh and the Spirit? In what areas of your life do you feel it the most?