Fruit of the Spirit – Practicing the Fruit of the Spirit Characteristics Daily to Glorify God
Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
I have read those verses so many times and not really focused on that little sentence. Against such things there is no law. Meaning, if we live by the characteristics laid out by the Holy Spirit we will be living well.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be struggles and suffering in our life. But it means our character won’t be the cause of our pain or someone else’s pain.
As a Christian mental health therapist, I talk often to my clients about the fruit of the Spirit characteristics. We discuss presenting to others in a manner that is glorifying to God and shows his light.
Not every Christian feels comfortable saying “God Bless” or “I’ll pray for you” in public places. And honestly, it’s not always appropriate depending upon the person you are with. We are called to meet a person where they are, not where we want them to be. So sometimes we have to take it slow.
But, against such things there is no law. Show everyone around you the fruit of the Spirit characteristics and it will be noticed. People will want to be around you and know you better. They will want to know how you are who you are. And your answer can be – Jesus Christ!
~ Below is a free printable to help you focus on ways of increasing the fruit of the Spirit characteristics in your daily life.
1 Peter 4:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
Love is an active choice. We may experience it but love is not just an emotion. It takes effort. That is true with your spouse, your children, and the person in the grocery line with seventeen thousand coupons. So find ways to show love to the people around you irregardless of what they are showing you. Remember, don’t rely on yourself! Ask the Holy Spirit to help you.
1 Peter 1:8-9 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Have you been around someone filled with joy? They are lit from the inside and their presence is infectious. Joy happens when you become flooded with a positive experience and emotion. I can’t think of anything more positive than knowing that just because of grace we are saved! When we sit in that knowledge and view our surroundings through blessings and thanksgiving then joy follows.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Peace is being settled in the knowledge that God is in control and has a plan for you. A person who has peace is a comfort to be around. You can feel how grounded they are. How steady. People who are unsettled tend to lean in to people who have peace. As a Christian therapist, the best thing I can do for my clients when they are distraught and overwhelmed is to exude peace and provide a calm and steady in the room for them. Peace quiets the heart and allows the person to hear the Holy Spirit.
James 5:7-8 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
Patience has fallen by the wayside in society currently. We have become a people of instant gratification. Everything is fast and at our fingertips and when it’s not, we get disappointed and irritated. Providing patience for other people has become unexpected. A person feels heard and seen when we give them our patience and our time. It shows them they are worth waiting for and being with. Who doesn’t want to feel that way?!
Romans 12:13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (kindness)
Caring for someone in all circumstances is kindness. We shouldn’t have exceptions or qualification to when we show kindness. So that means even the person who cut you off in traffic. Or the barista who rudely asked you what you want. Kindness is going out of your way to take the grocery cart back for the single-mom with three kids. It’s offering to let someone else go in line before you. Kindness are small acts.
2 Thessalonians 1:11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose (goodness) of yours and every act prompted by your faith.
Goodness is holding firm to what is right. No matter what. Goodness is not gray. I struggle with the current movie trend of providing a sad back story of the evil character to then provide empathy and justification for their wickedness. It muddies the water for children. Stealing, lying, and harming others are never okay not matter the circumstances.
I have clients who have endured horrendous trauma and dysfunction in their past and because of it they have fallen into distorted thinking patterns and logic. I understand why it has happened and provide empathy for their situation but we work to move beyond the past and follow goodness that is described in God’s word.
Lamentations 3:22-24 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”
I don’t understand why certain things happen in our lives. No one does. And truthfully, we’re not meant to. That is faith. It’s not knowing all of the answers to our whys and hows but believing anyway. Faithfulness is knowing God loves us and wants what is best for us at all times. Faithfulness is seeking God daily to receive His love, strength, and guidance because that is enough.
1 Peter 4:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
I strongly dislike the phrase “constructive criticism”. No matter how you package it, it’s still criticism. However we are called to provide truth in love. That is gentleness. There are many times my clients are living in a way that goes against God’s teachings. They may or may not be believers in Christ. I can’t go in guns a blazin’ and tell them they are wrong and damned to hell. How is that helpful?
Gentleness doesn’t mean being a pushover or a doormat. It means having a soft approach when speaking truth. Share your genuine concern for their well-being because of their actions. Scolding only makes the other person feel belittled and become guarded.
2 Peter 1:5-7 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
Like patience, self-control does not have much place in society currently. YOLO (you only live once) right?! Except what good comes from impulsiveness and unfiltered reactions? You end up saying things you don’t mean or that are hurtful. You overindulge – with food, alcohol, money, etc. Often impulsiveness is followed by remorse, guilt and shame. Self-control takes discipline and strength. And rarely can be done alone (or not for long) without the God’s strength to help you remain steady. While friends and strangers alike may heckle you for your restraint, self-control is admirable and they likely will ask how you are able to endure. Now you get to share with them God’s love.
I sincerely hope this message has helped you and encouraged you to focus on fruit of the Spirit characteristics to live in the manner we are called to. Because against such things there is no law.