GALATIANS 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). (AMP)
The fruit of the Spirit is nothing but the character of Jesus Christ Himself. And we as the followers and disciples of Jesus, who is our role-model, need to emulate these characteristics of our Lord into our lives.
The fruit of the Spirit is also an identity card of a born-again spirit filled believer. Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew says this while trying to explain how we differentiate between a false and a true prophet, from a Godly and ungodly person – Matt. 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act”.
Now I would like to explain two important facts –
The first is the fact that it is called the fruit “of the Spirit”. This reminds us that the character qualities of Jesus are not something that are produced by us, but only produced in us. They are produced by the Holy Spirit who Himself lives in us.
Jesus said in John 15:4-5, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing”. The fruit of the Holy Spirit cannot be produced in us unless we abide in Jesus, and there is no way we can produce it by our own efforts.
The second fact that it is called the “fruit” of the Spirit – not “fruits” as if in the plural, but “fruit” as if in the singular. The fruit of the Spirit that is produced in us is not “nine different fruits”, but one singular “fruit” manifested in nine distinct qualities. This reminds us that the Holy Spirit produces His fruit in us as a whole – not “love” this fruit season, then “joy” the next fruit season, then “peace” the next season, and so on.
This is important to keep in mind; because if we’re ever tempted to try to produce the Spirit’s fruit in our lives and under our own power, we might be inclined to pick and choose the qualities we would want to produce. We might say to ourselves, “I certainly need the Holy Spirit’s help with patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness. But I already have the others pretty well down now – especially meekness.”
Even if we could manage to exhibit some characteristics that looked like the fruit of the Spirit, it would not be the fruit of the Spirit at all. It would only be “wax fruit”; the products of our own efforts. And the Spirit of God does not wish to take our own productions and sanctify them for Himself.
The Pharisees were great producers of wax fruit; and they were quite proud of the fruit they produced. But Jesus once said of them, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted” (Matthew 15:5). And like the Pharisees, many today seek to exhibit those qualities of the fruit of the Spirit that appeal to them; but they attempt to do this apart from Jesus, and rely instead on their own efforts. Human effort cannot produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us. It is produced by the Holy Spirit, and when produced all is produced not just one aspect or a couple.