The Fruit of the Holy Spirit

One thing I always get peeved about in Christian circles is the importance placed on Spiritual Gifts. Prophecy, Speaking in tongues and all the other stuff you hear about are insignificant next to the fruit of the Spirit.

What is the Fruit of the Spirit?
The Fruit of the Spirit is the character traits that are obvious in a true Christian that help to differentiate them from those around them. These are nine character traits that a Christian should have as the result of an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. These traits are experienced in two ways:
  1. From God: God gives Christians the experience of these gifts in their own personal life, allowing them to feel content in Him.
  2. For People: Gifts are best when shared. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the Fruits of the Spirit as a benefit for ourselves and others. Christians should do their best to help others experience these gifts in their lives.
Whether you are a Christian or not, attempting to implement these traits into your character would surely benefit you and those around you in your life. The nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit are:
1. Love: I meet a number of individuals from all walks of life on a regular basis. One of the most common characteristics between a number of these people (whether successful or not) is that they do not feel loved. This is a tragedy. Love is one of the best feelings a person can feel in life, and is important for ensuring that we continue to grow and feel confident in life. I think one of the best explanations I have seen to this date of what true love for someone is can be seen as follows: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a). Wouldn’t it be an amazing experience to give people a taste of this sort of love in their lives every day, and to experience it ourselves.
2. Joy: Joy can simply be defined as happiness. With so many difficulties facing us in our lives these days, it can be easy to feel quickly overwhelmed and depressed. Maintaining a joyous outlook on life and the difficulties that arise can help one to ensure that they live a life dedicated to loving God and helping others in a beneficial way. Helping others to experience joy in all situations in their life should be one of our major priorities in life. After all, who wants to go through life unhappy, unsatisfied and feeling negative about what the future holds?
3. Peace: In a world full of war, peace may seem something that does not come naturally, and may even seem to be a bit of a pipe dream. However, I think the way to peace is to begin at a micro level. Firstly, we should be at peace with ourselves and the life we live. My mind goes through various stages at times where it is conflicted and I find myself debating different views and concepts only to end up in a pile of confusion. I feel best when my mind is at ease and ‘peaceful’. Secondly, we should not hold envy or aggression towards those in our lives. Instead, we should try to remain ‘at peace’ with all of those in our lives, and should demonstrate a peaceful approach when stepping into violent or aggressive situations.
4. Long suffering: Another word for long suffering is patience. In a world that expects instant gratification, we have become extremely impatient. We need to be willing to wait, as well as to have the ability to tolerate situations that are not to our liking and may not be that way for some time. Patience is a skill that is hard to learn. In relation to others, we can become impatient. Maintaining a long suffering approach can definitely help to ensure we develop long term quality relationships as opposed to friendships that are quickly gained and lost.
5. Gentleness: This is one that could definitely revolutionise the business world. I have seen a number of kids receive a verbal bashing from tradesmen they are learning from. Being stern is important, but so is being gentle. It is very easy to crush another person’s spirit and self-esteem. Being gentle is usually seen these days as being soft, feminine or otherwise. However, it takes a strong person to show a gentle side in their relationships with others.
6. Goodness: By living a morally right life and being a good example, Christians are able to help point others to living a good life. This flows from being upright in character and being honest with the way you live. Goodness is a noun, but can be demonstrated by ‘being’ and ‘doing’ good.
7. Faith: Faith is an interesting concept. In essence, it is an act of trust or reliance. Having faith in others involves believing in them, trusting them and relying on them. Faith is something that is hard and can take time to develop, but is definitely beneficial in our relationships with others.
8. Meekness: According to this definition, meekness is the feeling of patient, submissive humbleness. Christians are to be submissive to God in their lives. In regards to others, meekness is remaining humble and not judging others based on your perceptions or experiences, being aware that everyone has had a different upbringing and circumstances in their life. Also, we are to remain open to learning and instruction from others, so that we may continue to grow as individuals. Lastly, we need can be an example of the benefits of remaining patient, submissive and humble to others around us.
9. Temperance: Temperance is also known as moderation or self-control. Quite often it is easy for us to drink to excess, to fly off the handle at loved ones or to forget to exercise other forms of self control. Self-control and moderation are critical to developing long term relationships with others, especially when we are inclined to be quick tempered, impatient, etc.
How these should be applied
The Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger said in relation to the Stoicism that “our lives should not be diametrically opposed to, but rather better than that of the mob”. I think this is a good motto for Christians to apply also. By living out these nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit we can begin to live a life that is an example that inspires others to a better life, rather than being seen as an opposing viewpoint. I know I personally would like to experience more of these above nine fruits in my life, both as an individual and in the way I am treated by others, as well as living a better application of them with others.

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