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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26
In today’s passage Paul gives a list of the “fruit” that living a live filled with the Spirit will produce. And the “fruit” that this life will produce includes the following things:
- “Love” (Greek “agape”) refers to the selfless, God-kind of love that cares for and promotes what is best for another person without a hidden motive of personal gain. This kind of love is more than a willingness to make personal sacrifices for the cause of Christ and the benefit of others.
- “Joy” (Greek “chara”) is a strong inner sense of gladness that is not based on circumstances but on the love, grace, blessings, promises and nearness of God that belong to those who follow Christ.
- “Peace” (Greek “eirene”) is the inner calm and contentment based on the knowledge that one is in a right relationship with god and that God has everything under control.
- “Patience” (Greek “makrothumia”) means endurance, perseverance and the ability to wait without becoming angry, annoyed or upset. It includes the ability to tolerate being hurt or provoked without losing one’s temper.
- “Kindness” (Greek “chrestotes”) involves true and active consideration for others. It includes not wanting to hurt anyone or cause anyone pain.
- “Goodness” (Greek “agathosune”) is a character trait that causes someone to do what is right and beneficial for others. It includes a passion for truth and a hatred of evil. It is often expressed in acts of kindness or in challenging and correcting evil and injustice.
- “Faithfulness” (Greek “pistis”) is a firm and unwavering loyalty and devotion to a person to whom one is united by promise or commitment. It assumes being honest and trustworthy. It requires actively following through on one’s commitments.
- “Gentleness” (Greek “prautes”) refers to the quality shown by a mild friendliness or forbearance, especially to an enemy when harshness would be expected behavior. Like its synonym, “epieikeia,” the Greek word interpreted as “gentleness” has more to do with one follows the proper way of life, and later it referred to forbearance and mildness. A gentle person will act mercifully and appropriately.
- “Self-Control” (Greek “egkrateia”) is the discipline of mastering one’s own desires, emotions and passions. It requires depending on God to overcome temptation and remain spiritually strong and pure. It is strongly related to faithfulness to one’s marriage vows.
Paul’s final comments on the “fruit” of the Spirit are that there are no exceptions and/or restrictions to the lifestyle that is described here. And we as Christians can and must practice these character qualities over and over again, because we will never discover a law that prohibits us from living by these principles.
Today’s Bible Readings:
Deuteronomy 31:1-32:27, Luke 12:8-34, Psalm 78:32-55 and Proverbs 12:21-23