In my journey to discover the definitions and depths of the Fruit of the Spirit, I realized that they capture the essence of the gospel. Translated, the Gospel means the Good News of Jesus Christ. It’s the reality that we need a Savior and the testament of how Jesus’ sacrifice fulfilled this deep need. Our acceptance of His actions and character leads to our salvation and eternal life in heaven with our Lord. The point of this entire exercise is to see that the Fruit of the Spirit are designed to draw us closer to God.
God’s LOVE must be realized and accepted before we can truly establish a relationship with Him and understand what we gain in eternal life in heaven. Our JOY comes from accepting God’s forgiveness, being in His presence and understanding the blessings of Jesus’ salvation. Joy comes from accepting who God is – a loving God. PEACE comes from being in His presence. PATIENCE is having endurance in our walk with God. As we grow in our relationship and become stronger in our faith, hardship will come. We will need to patiently persevere with KINDNESS. Having a compassionate and kind heart means we will be able to bear with one another, forgiving and building one another up. GOODNESS comes from godliness, righteousness and holiness, which guarantees salvation. It is seen by our actions, but gained by our knowledge and acceptance of God. We are good because God’s Spirit makes us good. As we rely more fully on the Spirit, we learn to let Him work through us rather than for us. Out of our godliness we’re able to realize God’s FAITHFULNESS, which means trusting that God’s faithfulness is abounding and reaches the skies. We are to make God’s faithfulness known through demonstrating God’s love to others. Our GENTLENESS should be apparent; in fact, it should be among the first traits people see in us. God comes to us gentle in Spirit, so we can find rest in Him and He can rescue us from evil. Being SELF-CONTROLLED is being able to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live an upright life while we wait for Christ’s return. It’s being holy. Having self-control keeps us from being distracted so our focus can be on the things of Christ and Christ Himself. We see in 1 Peter 4:7-8 that Self-Control loops back around to Love: “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” When we’re self-controlled enough to pray to be centered around Christ, then we will not see a person for their sins, but rather we will see them for the person they are. This is how God sees, the world. He sees the world out of His incredible love, which is why He offered His son in the first place. He desires for us all to understand and accept His love and to actively show the world His care and compassion. With love covering a multitude of sins, forgiveness becomes an umbrella of the Gospel. God forgives us for our sins and all wrong doings, but we must accept His forgiveness to move forward in the process.