The Fruit of the Spirit

By Grantley Morris

Fruit of the Spirit

This practical guide to enjoying the fruit of the Spirit is adapted from extracts of Find Peace in the Storm. The full webpage is recommended because it contains all of the following plus much other valuable information. The following, however, is less reading and zeros in on the fruit of the Spirit.

Can you conceive of anything in the entire universe more beautiful than the fruit of the Spirit? The only contender is the heart of God himself and that is where the fruit of Spirit reside in exquisite perfection and infinite extent. The goal of this webpage is entirely practical: to discover how to live in the abundance of the Spirit’s exquisite fruit.

The Fruit of the Spirit: A Divine Partnership

In both biblical Greek and Hebrew (and even older English) “fruit” is a rich word. The term is not limited to just an aspect of plant reproduction but includes human reproduction (children). So “fruit of the Spirit” could be translated “the Holy Spirit’s offspring or child” (Proof). Just as physical intimacy with a human produces physical offspring, so intimacy with the Spirit of God produces spiritual offspring. What a beautiful thought! But here’s the rub: when two people love each other so much that they become one, their offspring becomes a unique creation that bears the characteristics of both parents.

God loves us so passionately that he wants a similar blending of his characteristics and ours in all the offspring resulting from our intimacy with him. I was first hit by this decades ago when I desperately wanted my writing to be totally of God. I was initially annoyed at God’s refusal to over-ride my role in the creative process and reduce me to a dictating machine. Even in the inspired original text of the Bible, the individual literary style of each human writer shines through. (For more about the interaction between our efforts and God’s, see Partnership with God.)

Just as Naaman’s miraculous healing hinged on whether he decided to dip in the Jordan (2 Kings 5:10-14), God lets us determine the extent to which he moves in our lives. In fact, The Almighty so humbles himself that in the entire biblical record of God’s acts, the Omnipotent One did almost nothing without rendering himself dependent upon human help (Biblical Examples).

God is not remotely like a drug pusher and his love, joy, peace etc. are not some heavenly version of dope. Regardless of how unworthy we might think ourselves, God loves, honors and trusts us so much that he refuses to reduce us to automatons but insists on moving in partnership with us.

Whether it be spiritual gifts or any other aspect of the Christian life, God yearns not to do it all himself but for us to play a significant role. Us enjoying the fruit of the Spirit is no exception to this divine principle.

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Both the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit in your life are products of your union with God, and as such they bear, as it were, both your genes and God’s; having both natural and supernatural elements. The human contribution makes the result less than perfect, and yet God is so in love with us that every product of our intimacy with him delights him. Perfection can wait until heaven but the fruitfulness of our union with God starts now and it is something that we contribute to, as well as God.

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Let’s approach this from yet another angle: neither fruit nor children come fully grown. Fruit is initially unpalatable and newborn babies can do little but cry. If fruit takes long to sweeten and children need years of training, we are likely to be disappointed if we expect peace to start off as robust and fully developed as we might wish. As in the natural, everything in our spiritual life takes time to develop. Consider these Scriptures:

    Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the righteous is like the dawning light, that shines more and more until the perfect day.

    Mark 4:26,28  . . . God’s Kingdom is . . . first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.

    Ephesians 4:15  . . . we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, Christ

    Colossians 2:19  . . . the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and ligaments, grows with God’s growth.

    2 Thessalonians 1:3  . . . your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of each and every one of you toward one another abounds

    1 Peter 2:2 as newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that with it you may grow

    2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. . . .

    (Emphasis mine.)

    More Scriptures

Despite us wanting everything immediately, the Bible keeps insisting that spiritual things grow. Seldom, if ever, do they arrive fully developed in a Christian’s life. Moreover, even for the divine elements within a Christian, there is a human contribution that inevitably renders them less than perfect, just as a little child’s best efforts are imperfect and yet they still delight a loving father’s heart.

The Role of Faith

As much as we might wish it were otherwise, it is unbiblical to expect in this life, love, joy, peace or whatever that is never seriously challenged.

    1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, don’t be astonished at the fiery trial which has come upon you, to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you.

Not only does enjoying the fruit of the Spirit take more faith than I had once supposed, even when you do, it often takes faith just to believe that it is truly supernatural and not merely “mind over matter.” To be honest, I find that disappointing. The truth, however, is that faith is critical to every part of the Christian life.

Surprisingly many spiritual experiences that we imagine would be dramatic enough to boost our faith if they happened to us turn out to be more subtle that we expect and in the cold light of day take faith to believe they were actually supernatural. (For a biblical example, see Faith Boost Fizzler.) The fruit of the Spirit is no exception.

We imagine we crave some experience that boosts our faith but by that we really mean we want to experience something that is so compelling that we don’t need faith. Faith grows only when everything within us screams the opposite. Faith is spiritual muscle. It must be exercised if it is to grow or even be maintained.

The Power and Limits of Faith and Prayer

    Isaiah 26:3 You will keep whoever’s mind is steadfast in perfect peace, because he trusts in you.

Note how peace is contingent upon keeping one’s mind steadfast and on trusting God. This applies equally to the rest of the fruit of the Spirit.

The role of a steadfast mind is expounded here:

    James 1:5-6  . . . let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed.

Mention of the sea takes me full circle by bringing my mind back to another reference in Isaiah to peace:

    Isaiah 57:20-21 But the wicked are like the troubled sea; for it can’t rest, and its waters cast up mire and mud. “There is no peace”, says my God, “for the wicked.”

Peace, and the rest of the Spirit’s fruit, comes from being resolute and unwavering, both in one’s commitment to be godly and in one’s conviction that God is good and is passionately devoted to our highest good.

Learning not to waver is like learning to ride a bike: it takes time, and one is sure to be wobbly at first. Falling off the bike is not a defeat nor an indication of ungodliness; it is part of the learning process. Likewise, living is peace is learned through practice and it is normal for early efforts to look pathetic even though it is the path to success.

Faith and prayer are indispensable to every part of the Christian walk. It is a serious mistake, however, to try to pervert these precious gifts into an excuse for spiritual laziness. Too often we find ourselves waiting for God to answer our prayer, when he is waiting for us to act (see Enlightening Scriptures).

For example, we can be praying for peace, when God is waiting for us to dispel fear and worry by building up our faith through praising God. We can be waiting for God to zap us with self-control, when he is waiting for us to die to self. We can be “believing God” for a soft life when God is expecting us to use trials as a training regime to develop Christlike character. We can want God’s peace as a sleeping pill, when what is keeping us awake is our refusal to make peace with someone by forgiving him.

We need less gimmes in our prayers – give me gooey feelings, give me bliss, give me a lazy, carefree life – and more thankyous and showmes. We need more prayers like:

    * Thank you that you will bring me through this.

    * Thank you that you are continually sustaining me and blessing me more than I realize.

    * Show me my current concerns from your holy, eternal perspective.

    * Show me what I must do to be Christlike – to delight you, to live in holiness, to walk with you in love, joy, peace, etc.

We must take this seriously:

    James 4:3 You ask, and don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your pleasures.

Why Peace Seems So Elusive

My rough count reveals at least 89 instances in the Bible when God either directly or through a divinely inspired spokesperson (such as an angel or prophet) told people not to be afraid. Include times when he told people not to worry or be anxious and you pass the hundred mark – and still more if you include telling people to “go in peace”. You have probably met this so often in your Bible reading that you find it unremarkable. So let me pose this question: why did the Almighty Prince of Peace repeatedly go to the effort of making such statements rather than simply zapping those people with peace as if firing a celestial tranquilizer gun?

Being overwhelmed by powerful waves of peace is as empty as a drug-induced haze, relative to the God of infinite knowledge and power – the God who cannot lie and whose love for you is more vast than the universe – stating that everything is okay.

To prefer feelings is like preferring $5 in cash over a check for a billion dollars. What makes it interesting is that, unlike the trifling amount of cash, a check requires faith in the person who signed it.

The above applies equally to the rest of the fruit of the Spirit

Many people fall into temptation because they keep waiting for God to do what he expects us to do: to put in the effort. Likewise, many of us miss out on much love, joy, peace or whatever because we are idly waiting for a miracle rather than putting in the required effort to take God at his word and act on it. It is like Peter walking on water: even though the result was supernatural, when Jesus said “Come,” he still had to take Jesus at his word, climb out of the boat and start walking (Matthew 14:29).

Whether it be Moses having to throw his rod on the ground before it turned into a snake, the Israelites having to march around and around and around Jericho before the walls fell, the servants having to draw the water before it turned into wine, or so very many other biblical examples, miracles almost always hinge on people doing something natural before the supernatural manifests itself.

Yes, the Omnipotent Lord could (and occasionally does) miraculously give love, joy, self-control or whatever when the human participants put in little or no effort, but God’s usual preference is for miracles to be a partnership between us and him, and if we do not do our part, the miracle will never occur.

I used to naively assume that if God gave me peace I would be enveloped by the blissful feeling no matter what; if God gave me joy, I’d be blissful no matter what; if God gave me love, I’ve be overwhelmed with gooey feelings toward people, and so on. But gifts don’t operate that way. If I gave you a warm blanket on a cold night, what you do with my gift is up to you. To enjoy the blanket you must choose to snuggle into it and stay in its warmth. If you decide you don’t deserve my generosity, or object to its color, you can push it aside and shiver in the cold, no matter how cozy the blanket is.

Is this Really Biblical?

Here is an intriguing Scripture:

    Hebrews 12:11 All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby. (Emphasis mine.)

Note how peace – a fruit of the Spirit – is linked in this verse with training. We are instantly granted Jesus’ righteousness when we place our faith in him and yet for us to daily live righteous lives we must learn how to exercise our Christ-bought power over temptation. Likewise, it takes training before we can daily live in peace.

This principle applies to all the fruit of the Spirit. As little children, we had to learn how to walk. We would fall and cry but we kept trying until we finally mastered the art. Similarly, we need to learn how to walk in the Spirit, the result of which is the fruit of the Spirit.

Note also this:

    1 Peter 3:11 Let him turn away from evil, and do good. Let him seek peace, and pursue it. (Emphasis mine.)

So here, too, we see that righteousness and peace takes effort on our part.

    Romans 14:19 So then, let us follow after things which make for peace, and things by which we may build one another up. (Emphasis mine.)

The Bible keeps emphasizing this:

    John 14:27 Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.

This is crystal clear: even when Jesus gives his peace, we still have to choose not to let our hearts be troubled and not to be afraid.

This dovetails with:

    Philippians 4:6-7 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

Despite this text strongly emphasizing the supernatural nature of this peace, we see yet again that enjoying this stupendous gift hinges on us striving so that in “nothing be anxious”.

For further confirmation that the fruit of the Spirit takes effort on our part let’s sample some more of the Spirit’s fruit. For an overview, let’s select the first and the last in the divinely inspired list.

The romantic emotion that hits a person independent of his or her will is not biblical love. No matter how much love God gives us, it still comes down to whether we keep deciding to resist the temptation to be selfish. Similarly, just because the Spirit gives us self-control does not mean we can never sin. Regardless of how Spirit-filled we are, how much we live in love and self-control is our choice.

Likewise, no matter how much peace God gives us, whether we live in that peace or let fear, doubt and worry dominate us, depends upon our moment-by-moment decisions.

This is confirmed by the following:

    Colossians 3:14-15 Above all these things, walk in love . . . let the peace of God rule in your hearts . . . (Emphasis mine.)

Neither love nor peace is something that is automatic for Christians. You must keep choosing to “walk in love” and to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts”.

So far we have looked at love, peace and self-control and all both these products of divine intimacy require effort on our part. Is this just coincidence? Let’s examine yet another: faithfulness.

Jesus repeatedly said such things as:

    Matthew 25:23  . . . Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.

So faithfulness is clearly an achievement; something worthy of commendation and reward – not something that comes effortlessly.

But what if we follow the King James rendering and take this reference in the fruit of the Spirit as referring not to faithfulness but to faith? Remarkably, the conclusion is identical. For example, we find Jesus repeatedly praising or rebuking people according to their level of faith.

It hardly takes a genius to realize that patience, kindness, goodness and gentleness fall into the same category. They are all virtues, moral achievements, praise-worthy acts.

Having now looked at more than two-thirds of the Spirit’s fruit and consistently found them to be praise-worthy decisions, not feelings, isn’t it safe to assume that that this applies to all the fruit of the Spirit, including peace?

Perhaps you find joy a sticking point. If one part of this divine list of the Spirit’s fruit is a feeling, not a decision, we might be left with a nagging doubt that perhaps another is likewise not a decision we make.

Like love, however, the Bible keeps commanding us to rejoice and be joyful:

    Deuteronomy 16:14 You shall rejoice in your feast . . .

    Deuteronomy 28:47-48 Because you didn’t serve the Lord your God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things . . . you will serve your enemies whom the Lord sends against you . . .

    Psalms 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness. . . .

    Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are you when men shall hate you, and when they shall exclude and mock you, and throw out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy . . .

    Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer (Emphasis mine)

    Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, “Rejoice!”

    James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations

    1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always.

Clearly, for anyone other than an idiot to command anything, it must be something the person has the power to choose to do. If joy were merely a feeling that occurs because of circumstances or a sovereign act of God, scriptures such as the above would be nonsensical.

So, as we have kept finding with the fruit of the Spirit, joy is a virtue. It is an on-going decision; the product of a daily resolve to rejoice in God; to delight in him no matter what circumstances we face:

    Habakkuk 3:17-18 For though the fig tree doesn’t flourish, nor fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive fails, the fields yield no food; the flocks are cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls: [i.e. even if everything goes wrong and I am facing financial ruin and possible starvation] yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

The Bible categorizes peace and peace not with sovereign acts of God but with virtues and moral achievements such as patience, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Moreover, we found that these products of divine intimacy are not plopped full grown into our lap but take much effort on our part to develop.

Dying to Self

There is a strong biblical connection between the fruit of the Spirit and dying to self:

    Galatians 5: 22-24 BBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . . and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.

Some people feel as if the only way to have joy or peace is to try to have full control of their circumstances. The reality, of course, is that this is doomed because no one can control all of his or her circumstances. In fact, lasting joy and peace necessitates us relinquishing our efforts to control our circumstances and letting God assume full control of every aspect of our lives.

The theoretical advantages of dying to self are undeniable: go to any extreme you wish to threaten a corpse, slander it, rob it, torture it, terrify it or expose it to great danger, and it will remain unmoved. Reaching that degree of disinterest while one’s heart is still beating, however, is quite another matter. Moreover, we fear what we wrongly perceive as frightening disadvantages associated with dying to self. These supposed disadvantages are exploded in the Spiritual Secrets link at the end of this webpage.

The fundamental key to finding the peace that transcends all understanding and all the rest of the Spirit’s fruit is to reach that point of yielding to God where nothing (not life, happiness, material things, relationships, reputation, vocation, avoiding suffering, or anything else) really matters to you except God and him having his holy, wise and loving way in every aspect of your life. If, for example, everything you regard as your treasure is in heaven, you will not fear losing your job, being robbed, or a global financial meltdown. Reaching this point of abandonment and trust, however, is not easy. One key is to not wait for a crisis but even when things are going swimmingly to continually practice these Scriptures:

    Colossians 3:2 Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth.

    Psalm 49:16-17 Don’t be afraid when a man is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased. For when he dies he shall carry nothing away. His glory shall not descend after him.

    Psalm 62:10  . . . If riches increase, don’t set your heart on them.

    Psalm 119:36 Turn my heart toward your statutes, not toward selfish gain.

    Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things. Revive me in your ways.

    Luke 12:15  . . . Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses.

    Romans 8:5  . . . those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

    1 John 2:15,17 Don’t love the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love isn’t in him. . . . The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever.

Dying to self doesn’t mean ceasing to care about people – people are infinitely important to the God of love. It doesn’t mean giving up – through God we are winners. It doesn’t mean ceasing to put in enormous effort – Jesus sweat until it was like blood. Dying to self means no longer trying to get things for yourself – whether protection, fulfillment, achievement, peace or whatever. Such things are no longer your concern. If they come, praise God; if they don’t, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is God, because his way is perfect and can never be improved on. And when that attitude floods your heart, you have peace no matter what horrors are exploding around you.

One Fruit of the Spirit or Many?

Some scholars make much of the Bible saying, “The fruit of the Spirit is . . .” rather than, “The fruits of the Spirit are . . .” If someone learning English asked what part of an apple is the fruit, you would reply, “The fruit is the skin, flesh, core and seeds,” just as the Bible says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace and so on. The various elements of an apple are not fruits. It is only fruit when all the elements form one whole, by being united in the way that God grows fruit. Each element is so dependent upon the others that if just one element – the skin, the core, or whatever – were removed from a fruit growing on a tree, the entire fruit would soon begin to rot.

Every part of the Spirit’s fruit is not only from the same source – our intimacy with God – every part is a facet of the one jewel or, looked at another way, a vital organ of the same divinely-conceived baby.

The list begins with love, the very thing Scripture says is of extreme importance:

    Mark 12:28-31  . . . “Which commandment is the greatest of all?”
    Jesus answered, “The greatest is, ‘ . . . love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

    1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:1 But earnestly desire the best gifts. Moreover, I show a most excellent way . . . love . . .

    1 Corinthians 13:2-3 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing. If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don’t have love, it profits me nothing.

    1 Corinthians 13:13 But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.

Some scholars see all of the fruit of the Spirit as a manifestation of love. After all, love is patient and kind. It drives one to be faithful, gentle and self-controlled. The various parts of the fruit of the Spirit are even more intermeshed than this, however. How can anyone be good without being loving, patient, kind, faithful, gentle and self-controlled? All of the fruit of the Spirit are essential for joy and peace (See, for example The Interconnection between Peace and the Rest of the Fruit of the Spirit ). On and on one could go, finding more and more links and interdependence between all of the fruit of the Spirit.

A vast number of Scriptures link righteousness with various gifts of the Spirit. For example:

    1 Timothy 6:11 But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.

    Romans 14:17 for God’s Kingdom is . . . righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

    Psalms 85:10 Mercy and truth meet together. Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

(Many more such Scriptures)

This link with righteousness is not surprising: to have the fruit of the Spirit, one must have abandoned the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) and “live by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25), which involves being in submission to his holy ways:

    Romans 8:6-7, 13-14 For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind of the flesh is hostile toward God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. . . . For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God.

Peace cannot survive in a spiritual vacuum. Lasting peace is impossible except by nurturing all the rest of the fruit of the Spirit, plus prayer, thanksgiving, righteousness and every other aspect of godly living you can think of. This is equally true for the rest of the fruit of the Spirit. Each part is totally dependent upon the rest.

Each aspect of the Spirit’s fruit arrives permanently melded to every other quality God expects his children to manifest. All Godly qualities are like essential bodily organs than can survive without each other no more than your brain could survive without the rest of your body.

Or look at this way: Christ needs to dwell in us:

    Galatians 4:19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ is formed in you

    John 14:23  . . . If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.

No one can carve up the holy Son of God, saying, for example, his joy can enter but not the rest of him. You cannot invite the Prince of Peace to reign in your heart without extending the same invitation to the Lord of lords. The same person is both the forgiving Savior and the terrifying holy Lord who stays set apart from sinners. The one who stoops to lift us up remains the one before whom we must bow. He is both the lamb and the lion. He who is mindful of our every weakness is a consuming fire. There is healing in his wings but he comes as the sun of righteousness. He who came not to judge will return as Judge. ( Scriptures pertinent to this paragraph.)

We cannot have any part of the fruit of the Spirit without devoting ourselves to everything else that is Christlike.

Wrap Up

If seeking any of the Spirit’s fruit means we are seeking an easy life, we are hurtling headlong into a spiritual crisis.

We will get very frustrated with God until we finally realize that his plans for us are far higher and nobler than most of us dream. We want to feel good; he wants us to be good. We long to be comfortable; he longs for us to be great achievers and spiritual champions.

    Romans 8:17  . . . heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him.

    2 Timothy 2:3 You therefore must endure hardship, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

    2 Timothy 2:12 If we endure, we will also reign with him. . . .

We want joy or other parts of the Spirit’s fruit to be something we don’t have to work at. We hope for a divine miracle that requires little or no input from us. But despite being all-powerful, the God of love is into partnership, not domination. He is into relationship and faith. He yearns for regal children, not slaves; Christlike confidants, not robots; moral achievers, not drugged-out zombies.

Peace, joy and each of the rest of the Spirit’s fruit is a virtue; a praise-worthy achievement that requires divine help but demands our full-blooded cooperation and input. Like the love the Bible keeps commanding, every part of the fruit of the Spirit is a decision, not a feeling.

We overcome fear by taking Christ’s hand and facing our fears. Likewise, we overcome inner turmoil, not by trying to push it down and pretending everything is fine, but by facing those issues with Christ, acknowledging their intensity and pouring out our heart to God until they are resolved. Just as leprous Naaman had to humble himself by dipping in the dirty Jordan before God acted, so for God to bring about inner healing we might have to humble ourselves by seeking human counsel.

We have noted that all of the Spirit’s fruit is a product of our union with God. Merely signing a marriage license will not cause anyone to “be fruitful and multiply.” To have many children takes years of frequent intimacy with one’s partner. And children are a huge responsibility. It takes much effort and commitment to properly look after and train children. As with the natural, so it is with the spiritual.

The Spirit of God is overflowing with love, joy, peace, etc. The closer we get to God, the more we will become like him. The more we get to know God, letting him share with us what is on his heart, the more we will be able to view from his perspective everything that worries, frightens, annoys, frustrates or defeats us. Seeing people, events and circumstances as God sees them will transform our outlook, incrementally filling our hearts with more and more love, joy, peace and every other aspect of the fruit of the Spirit.

It takes time to gain God’s view of the universe, and continual effort to train ourselves to keep seeing things God’s way when it is so easy to revert to our old, human way of seeing things.

Taking on God’s perspective is related to dying to self – denying ourselves our old, human way of seeing, believing and acting – and accepting God’s way as the right way. This is not a one-off spiritual experience but a daily occurrence:

    Luke 9:23  . . . If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (NIV, Emphasis mine.)

    1 Corinthians 15:31  . . . I die daily.

I could have sought popularity by pandering wishful thinking about fruit of the Spirit. Rather than set you up for bewildered disappointment, however, I have sought to be ruthlessly honest about what the Bible really teaches. It turns out that joy is not heaven’s drug; it is an achievement. Peace is not a tranquilizer gun that God keeps in hand for emergencies. It is the product of continual intimacy with God; of daily following Scripture’s directive to store up treasure in heaven, not on earth; to fix our minds on things above; to die to self and declare with the great Apostle, “For to me to live is Christ . . .” And so it is with all of the Spirit’s fruit.

We will never find the peace of God in a piece of God. For any part of the Spirit’s fruit we need all of God. For God’s peace to rule in your heart, God himself must rule in your heart.

The fruit of the Spirit is not found in a box of spiritual trinkets we can rummage through and select whatever titillates us. It comes inseparably melded to everything else that together makes God’s heart. Having it necessitates not only acting as if we have the heart of God but, through the miracle of spiritual new birth and daily dying to self, actually having his very heart throbbing within us; driving our thoughts and deeds every moment of every day.

Those who seek the benefits of a Spirit-filled live will never find them, just as those who seek to save their lives will lose their lives (Luke 9:24). We come alive to God by dying to self – by surrendering all claim to our comfort and desires.

We have the peace of God when the God of peace has us. And so it is with all of the fruit, but even then, God has promised us troubles and trials. They will seems a curse and yet they will end up making us Christlike. By uniting with Jesus, letting him be your leader and inspiration as you keep crucifying the flesh and making Christlike decisions. The result with bring glory to God – and to you.

Related Pages

Help When Doubt Knocks: How to Grow in Faith

Spiritual Secrets: Dying to Self

Find Peace in the Storm

Not to be sold. © Copyright, 2011, 2012 Grantley Morris. May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: it is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged and it is not used in a webpage. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at  Freely you have received, freely give. For use outside these limits, consult the author.

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Bible Versions Used
(Unless otherwise specified)

King James Version

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The Fruit of the Spirit