You may have sung about them as a kid? The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience… do you remember all nine? But the real question for every child of God is this – do others see these qualities in your life? Jack Kuhatschek, author of dozens of studies and books, shares how the fruit of the spirit appear in your life. It’s a grace to welcome Jack to the farm’s table today…
Jesus once told His disciples: “Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matthew 7:17).
That’s a reality every farmer knows: a healthy tree, rooted and fed well by its source, shows its health by the good fruit it bears. But if a tree produces poor fruit—or worse, no fruit at all—something in the health of the tree or its connection to good soil and nutrition is compromised.
“if a tree produces poor fruit—or worse, no fruit at all—something in the health of the tree or its connection to good soil and nutrition is compromised.”
Jesus went on to elaborate, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (verses 18-20).
Of course, we know that Jesus was not simply talking about agriculture. The apostle Paul tells us very clearly the nature of both bad and good fruit, in Galatians 5. The bad fruit, which humanity has displayed since the very first sin, includes “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” Paul concludes this string of sins by saying, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21, esv).
Good fruit, on the other hand, does not come naturally to fallen human beings and can only appear through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, who lives within every true Christian:
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV). Jesus displayed these excellent qualities throughout His life on earth because they reflect the character of God Himself. And from the moment you received Jesus as your Savior and Lord, that “fruit” has gradually and increasingly begun to appear in your life.
Jesus desires every Christian to become more fruitful every day—neither withering away nor bearing thorns but bearing life-giving fruit.
Take note of the important distinctions the New Testament makes about each one…
“Jesus desires every Christian to become more fruitful every day—neither withering away nor bearing thorns but bearing life-giving fruit.”
Love is not easy. Real love casts out fear and picks up the hurting, suffering on the side of the road.
Joy is not manufactured. It is not a mere emotion but something that comes directly from the work of God. Having the word of God in our hearts makes it easier to choose joy.
Peace is not an absence of fear or anxiety. It is the feeling of wholeness when we invite God in to dwell with us.
Patience is endurance. It is more than tolerating inconveniences, but holding fast and not losing heart in the face of hard things.
Kindness has a cost. It is a choice to do good, emerging from the power of the Holy Spirit. Biblical kindness is not benign goodwill, but humility in action for His glory.
Goodness overcomes evil. When we choose to be upright in our inner and outer worlds goodness flows outward to others.
Faithfulness compels us to be trustworthy. Our deep belief in God is a catalyst for us to keep commitments and be reliable in a turbulent world.
Gentleness requires awareness. We must cultivate a greater awareness of our own strength and recognize the world is more fragile than we might suspect.
Self-Control is power. It is not a statement of power over others, but of oneself. We cannot bear this on our own but lean into the Holy Spirit to help us master our desires.
“When our roots are in Christ, we can better understand how to love others and bear fruit for all the world to see.”
When our roots are in Christ, we can better understand how to love others and bear fruit for all the world to see.
The word love can often feel overused. People love their favorite flavor of ice cream, their new tattoo, their favorite football team, their spouse’s new outfit, and even their brand of coffee. With such a watered-down view of love, is it any wonder that saying, “I love you” may mean just the opposite: “I want you because you meet my needs”?
Actual love is visible by the fruit of the Spirit. Instinctively we know that love is something more than just mild affection or enjoyment. But often we are content to stay with the safe version, something that doesn’t ask anything of us or require us to risk anything. Trusting the Holy Spirit to help us live out the fruit of the spirit is not safe. We will be pushed outside our comfort zones, but never outside the love of God.
For people who follow Jesus, the reward of real love is always worth the risk.
God grows His character in us as a living witness for a watching world.
Jack Kuhatschek is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and the author of sixteen Bible study guides.
Before he retired, he was executive VP and publisher at Baker Publishing Group.
He is one of many authors who have worked with The Navigators to publish the bestselling Lifechange Bible Studies. There is a study for every book of the Bible and now, with Jack’s help, topical studies.
Every Lifechange Bible Study study trains you in foundational Bible reading skills as you learn transforming truths from Scripture.
[ Our humble thanks to NavPress for their partnership in today’s devotion ]