What do you think is the best way to identify a Christian? Would it be by the way they talk or by their look? It’s neither! We are Christ followers when we have the fruits of the Spirit. The Apostle Paul lists them: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). Nine incredible ways to know that God is at work in our lives. They are fruits that God produces as a result of our surrendered lives to him. They come from him and are a part of him.
Love is what God has shown to each of us. As this fruit grows, he helps us love others. It’s not hard to love people who are nice to us, but it is difficult to love people who are mean to us. What is so remarkable about this fruit is that it loves unconditionally.
Joy is the fruit that enables us to enjoy life. God gives us the ability to have joy in the middle of sorrow. It’s a joy that comes from the Lord, and it gives us strength to endure trials as Jesus did. Joy enables us to enjoy our life with those around us by helping us to be flexible instead of rigid.
Peace is the ability to trust God with all the anxieties of life. How people long for this precious commodity and can’t find it. It comes from God, and the world can’t take it away from us.
Patience is the ability to wait for the right time. We are all by default impatient, especially with others. When this fruit is present, we demonstrate patience with others. Good things do come to those who wait.
Kindness is the quality of being kind and doing kind acts to others. God gives us a kind heart, and kindness flows out of it.
Goodness is what is on the inside of us. It is what makes up our character. It is not what we do, so much as who we are. Goodness is the navigating system that guides us.
Faithfulness determines how reliable we are. When you are living around faithful people, you grow, as opposed to shriveling up around unreliable people.
Gentleness is power under control. It should not be confused with weakness. God is gentle, and to have this fruit is to be like Him. Jesus was so gentle with bruised hearts and spirits that were barely flickering with life (Isa 42:3). His words and actions conveyed kindness and gentleness. Gentle people have an “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Pet 3:3-4).
Self-control is really the basket that holds all the other fruits. Without self-control we have no patience, no love, joy, peace or any other fruit. Solomon said: “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city” (Prov 16:32). Self-control demonstrates the Spirit of Christ in our lives, and it enables us to choose God’s will over our own will.