The Meaning of Galatians 5:22-23 NIV & KJV
When the Bible talks about the fruit of the Spirit, it is referring to the attributes that exhibit themselves in the life of a born-again Christian.
In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul shares a list of nine characteristics that come to fruition in the lives of Christians when they are full of the Spirit of God: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
1. Where can I find Fruit of the Spirit' in the Bible?
The fruit of the Spirit can be found in Galatians 5:19:23, which begins by first sharing the acts of the flesh:
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:19-23
Before a person is Spirit filled and only lives according to fleshly behaviors, his actions and mindset is quite different from what God will transform them to be. The work of the Spirit in a person’s life will produce attributes that are seen in God.
The acts of the flesh are problematic, whereas the fruit of the Spirit gives no place any form of negativity or sinfulness. The term “fruit of his labor” can easily be connected to the “fruit of the Spirit” in the life of a person who is diligently living for God.
2. What is the meaning of Fruit of the Spirit?
The meaning of “fruit of the Spirit” is the attributes that surface and mature in the life of people who have truly surrendered their lives to God and have been filled with His Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is the result of allowing God’s Spirit to transform a person into His image.
3. What are the nine Fruits of the Spirit?
Paul speaks of the traits that will be seen in those who have fully given their lives to God. Transforming from fleshly acts to the results that show by loving and serving God become visible, overtaking the lifestyle of a person who was formerly a servant to sin.
Love is a fruit of the Spirit that is true and genuine, loving God, and loving others the way that God loves others. It is sacrificial, thinking of self last.
Jesus gave the ultimate expression of love and selflessness with His death on the cross. His love was sacrificial.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
The fruit of the Spirit demonstrates love through a genuine concern for humanity, “dying out” to unforgiveness, lack of compassion and other selfish emotions that hide the Spirit of God.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit that gives inner peace and contentment that does not rely on outward situations being agreeable. Joy does not come from favorable circumstances, but instead by knowing one’s heart is right with God and is at peace with his Maker.
“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:10-11
Peace is a fruit of the Spirit that allows a Christian to experience inner calm when surrounding factors would normally cause stress and turmoil in the heart and mind. This includes not only one’s relationship with God, but with one’s relationship with others: the brethren in the church, his neighbor, and all others.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Forbearance is a fruit of the Spirit that gives patience to tolerate emotional injuries. The King James Version of the Bible translates the word as longsuffering, which can easily be understood as suffering long.
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” Romans 15:1
Kindness is fruit of the Spirit that causes a Christian to be merciful, compassionate and considerate of others. It is a trait that Christian practices for friends and enemies alike.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
Goodness is a fruit of the Spirit that causes people to live out their lives with good morals, good works, and good intentions for everyone. It replaces actions and attitudes of selfishness, deception, meanness, and revenge.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10
Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit that causes a Christian to be constant and reliable. It produces trustworthiness.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
Faithfulness does not shift according to circumstances. Rather, it is a witness of one who is reliable, constant and committed in every situation.
Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit that affects the speech and manners of a Christian. It applies to every person from the servant to the one in authority over others.
Additionally, it is to be practices on all human beings, including the difficult and sinful people that Christians encounter.
“…to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” Titus 3:2
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit that stops a Christian from reacting and making decisions according to the desires of the flesh, and not the Spirit of God. It is continually submitting a person’s will to God’s will, not allowing the flesh to be in charge.
“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” Proverbs 16:32
4. How do you get and develop the Fruit of the Spirit?
The way to obtain and develop the fruit of the Spirit begins with being born again. Jesus stated this in John 3:3: “Jesus answered, “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
Once a person has the Spirit of God within, growth develops through prayer, studying the Word of God, and intentional loyalty to serving Jesus with one’s complete heart and mind.
5. How do you explain the Fruit of the Spirit to a child?
Explaining the fruit of the Spirit to children can be done by giving them a visual or tangible example of an assortment of fruit, labeling each different kind as one of the Spirit’s characteristics. The context can be further explained that God wants those traits to grow inside of His children, and it happens by loving Jesus with all of their hearts.
6. How do you apply the Fruit of the Spirit to your life?
Applying the fruit of the Spirit to one’s life is accomplished through allowing God to shape you as He teaches you all of His ways. Faithfulness and self-control are two traits of the fruits that will help the other traits continue to grow.
Faithfulness in worship, reading the Word, and prayer all invite divine influence on the heart. Studying the life of Jesus gives an example of the fruit of the Spirit in action, thereby helping Christians to see how to apply them to everyday life.
7. Are there any practical examples of the Fruit of the Spirit?
There are many practical examples of the fruit of the Spirit. Many activities Christians participate in daily give opportunities to practice the fruit of the Spirit in their lives at any given time.
Love can be practiced by looking beyond personalities and behaviors of others and considering instead their need to be saved. When a Christian sees the spiritual needs of humanity the way God does, an accumulation of the different fruit takes actions.
Forbearance, kindness, and gentleness can all be impactful when reaching out to those who have undesirable personalities. These have the ability to calm tense situations, soften bitter hearts, and change the atmosphere.
Joy and peace should be the normal demeaner in the life of the Christian, knowing that they are right with their Maker. The inner calm can be seen by those around them.
Goodness and faithfulness show in the lives of Christians through their commitments to living a life of righteousness, having good work ethics, serving others, church attendance and other areas that require physical and spiritual involvement and service. These are not just mental ideas.
Self-control shows when Christians do not allow their fleshly desires to override their spiritual disciplines. It can be over an urge to sin in the flesh, or to act out from a quick temper.
8. How did Jesus demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit?
The fruit of the Spirit can be seen demonstrated in the life of Jesus many times throughout each gospel: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. His example to mankind was sinless even when He was tempted.
The love Jesus has naturally for humanity began before He ever knew us. “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
The story of the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11 shows self-control toward the Pharisees and the scribes, despite their conduct and bad attitude.
He additionally showed forbearance, kindness, goodness, and gentleness to the woman who had sinned, when she was in danger of receiving the judgement of death by those who claimed religion as their guide to punish her. A great distinction could be seen between the carnality of men who used religion for personal gain, and the One who reached out with truth to help men find salvation.
Joy can most likely be seen through Jesus in Mark 10:13-16 when the small children were coming to Him to be blessed.
Peace was seen in the Lord when He slept on a boat while a storm was raging in Mark 4:36-41.
Faithfulness was seen in Jesus when He won the struggle against His flesh in the garden of Gethsemane. He stayed faithful in the plan to save humanity by allowing Himself to be crucified on the cross.
Continual growth of the fruit of the Spirit in a believer’s life is possible and necessary for spiritual success. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
God has the provision: we simply need the Spirit and the desire to grow.