Fruit (Part 2)

Last week I wrote about how I came to better understand who the Holy Spirit is and how I am working to allow God’s Spirit (the Comforter and Advocate) to grow fruit in my heart. What specifically are these fruits and what does the Bible say about each of them?

The wording from Galatians 5:22-23 that speaks to my heart says this: “If you allow it, this is the kind of fruit the Holy Spirit can grow in your heart: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against any of these things.” 

Here are some Bible verses that speak about these qualities, how I hope to exhibit them, and where I stumble.


Matthew 22:37-39: Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

This just sums it all up, doesn’t it? Most of us who are believers have embraced the first part. I’d like to say I have also fully embraced the second. I am blessed to live in a wonderful rural neighborhood where people take the time to get to know each other and help each other. It’s pretty darn easy to love your neighbor here. The part that trips me up though is loving people as I love myself. Because there are things about me that I really don’t like. And when I observe those same characteristics in someone else, I’m turned off. I don’t want to get close because it might bring out the worst in me. It might dampen my attempts to appear perfect. Which I’m not and I never will be. But, I’m working on being better. God grants me grace. I should accept it and pass it along to my neighbor. 


John 16:22: So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

When my daughter died I thought I’d never experience joy again. I thought it would somehow dishonor her memory if I celebrated. And, it’s true that I will never experience unmitigated joy on this earth. Every joyous occasion is tinged with sadness because she is missing from them. But, one day I will see Jesus and I will see Rachel and everyone else who has gone home before me. And no one can take away that joy. That’s a reason to celebrate.


John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Like joy, peace often feels elusive here on earth. I’m a worrier by nature and my mind gets troubled when there is turmoil and things are not calm. I seek “peace and quiet” which I can’t always find. But, if I seek the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:6) that God gives at least I am better able to weather the storm.


2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Um, let’s just say that patience is a virtue I do not have in abundance. I want things to get done NOW. But, I’m experienced (i.e., old) enough to have gone through times where if I hadn’t been forced to slow down the consequences could have been very bad. So, when I’m feeling impatient and I keep glancing at my watch I see my little bracelet right beside it and sometimes it reminds me that there might be a good reason for the slowness.


Ephesians 4:32: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Kindness is a fruit that has grown larger in my garden since Rachel died. It intersects with patience. My lack of patience often would cause me to be curt or dismissive with cashiers who were sullen or people in line who seemed oblivious to everyone around them. But, when I realized how all-encompassing grief was in my life, how hard it was just to accomplish daily tasks, and how much effort it took to make small talk with people (please just leave me alone!) it dawned on me how many people were walking around with burdens we don’t know about. So, once again, I try to grant them grace. Just be kind.


Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Goodness and kindness seem similar, don’t they? The Bible seems to differentiate in that goodness involves action. Doing good works. The hard part for me is remembering that I should do them not for attention and glory, but because that’s what God expects of me. He created me to do specific tasks he had planned for me before I even existed. I believe my task is to use whatever meager talent I have for writing to talk about the lessons I have learned since my child moved to Heaven.


Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

I can’t tell you how many times I have prayed for something, but have not truly turned it over to God. And then I say, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) I’m working on it.


Proverbs 15:1: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Gentleness is often associated with meekness, which tends to have a negative connotation. We think of meek people as weak. Yet, Moses was called meek and he was chosen to lead the Israelites out of slavery to the Promised Land (Numbers 12:3). Christ echoed the psalmist when He said the meek shall inherit the earth (Psalm 37:11; Matthew 5:5). Gentle people can be strong and effective while still being compassionate.


2 Timothy 1:7: For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

I think there is a reason Paul listed self-control as the last fruit in his letter to the Christians in Galatia. He says something similar in his second letter to his protégé Timothy. If we allow the Holy Spirit to grow this kind of fruit in our heart, and if we learn to embrace these fruits in our interactions with others, we will have more self-control. And self-control helps us avoid temptation, helps us reflect Jesus in our lives, and helps us sow seeds in others’ hearts, as well.


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