“... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
—Gal. 5:22-23a (NRSV)
The first three qualities of spiritual fruit—love, joy and peace—are essential ingredients of our inward spiritual life. They are the direct result of our personal relationship with God, settling in our hearts as Holy Spirit abides within us.
The next three aspects of the fruit of the Spirit—patience, kindness and generosity—are outward manifestations of that inner love, joy and peace. These fruit are developed in and through our relationships and interactions with other people.
The last three fruit—faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—are further outward manifestations reflecting our inner love, joy and peace.
All these qualities of Christian character are produced in believers as we submit to the guidance of Holy Spirit.
“[W]hat happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.” —Gal. 5:22-24 (MSG)