Meditation on “The Fruit of the Spirit” Galatians 5:22-23

There are many promises in the Old Testament about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of them we like to remember – but there are others we prefer to forget. The very last promise in the Old Testament comes from the prophet Malachi and is the promise of a blessing nobody wants – the blessing of the Refiner’s Fire.

Malachi 3:1 ¶ … Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,Billy Graham comments, “He is not coming to soothe you or comfort you, or to protect you, or to insure you against every calamity that may happen to you. He is coming to refine your life; he is coming to burn out the baser metals so that the silver that is there can shine. This is a painful process.”

The blessing of the refiner’s fire. Refining by the Spirit’s work. Refining by confession and repentance. Refining by the church. Refining by times of trial. And refining not just as individuals but as the whole church.

Refiner’s fire, My heart’s one desire Is to be holy, Set apart for You, Lord.
I choose to be holy,Set apart for You, my Master, Ready to do Your will.
Those words are so easy to sing – but so challenging if we stop to think about them. Is our one and only deepest desire really for God to refine us and make us like Jesus?

Here these words from AW. Tozer (1897–1963)
Do you want to be filled with a Spirit who, though he is like Jesus in his gentleness and love, will nevertheless demand to be Lord of your life? Are you willing to let your personality be taken over by another, even if that other be the Spirit of God himself? If the Spirit takes charge of your life he will expect unquestioning obedience in everything. He will not tolerate in you the self-sins even though they are permitted and excused by most Christians.… You will find the Spirit to be in sharp opposition to the easy ways of the world and of the mixed multitude within the precincts of religion. He will be jealous over you for good. He will not allow you to boast or swagger or show off. He will take the direction of your life away from you. He will reserve the right to test you, to discipline you, to chasten you for your soul’s sake. He may strip you of many of those borderline pleasures which other Christians enjoy but which are to you a source of refined evil. Through it all he will enfold you in a love so vast, so mighty, so all-embracing, so wondrous that your very losses will seem like gains and your small pains like pleasure.

Being refined and purified can be a painful process. But it’s worth it! The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to produce in us the character of Christ.
As Oswald Chambers (1874–1917) said
Sanctification is not something our Lord does in me; sanctification is himself in me.
Becoming Holy is simply about Christ living in us! Our old self is nailed to the cross and the Risen Christ takes over. The transformed to be conformed to the character of Christ. Which brings us to tonight’s subject – the fruit of the Spirit.

Gal 5:22-23 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.

These are simply the qualities of Jesus Christ Himself, reproduced in us! Christ is our example. But it is not just up to us to work hard to imitate Christ in our own strength. Because Paul says these are the qualities of character which the Holy Spirit Himself works to produce in our lives. They are the fruit of the Spirit not of our hard work. ONLY the Holy Spirit can make us like Jesus. Here is a valuable checklist which we can apply to our lives to see how far we are along the path to Holiness.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
These are the fruit of the Spirit . Not the `fruits’ (plural) but the fruit (singular). Its all or nothing! We cant be satisfied with six out of nine or eight out of nine. ALL these qualities are part of a mature Christian character – part of the fruit the Holy Spirit produces, part of what a person will be become as the Refiner’s fire does His work. However wonderful some spiritual experience may feel at the time, if it doesnt produce more of the fruit of the Spirit in my life then I will be very suspicious of it! But if a spiritual experience brings more of this fruit of the Spirit into my life – then however strange the experience may at first appear, then I want MORE of that experience, because I want to be more like Jesus

Jesus said 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples

Jesus calls us to bear fruit. That fruit may be the fruit of new Christians, or of answered prayers. But most important of all that fruit will be the character of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit.

The first three virtues are habits of mind which find their source in God. Some of these Christ-like qualities very definitely demand human effort (e.g.patience, kindness, faithfulness, self-control). However we will usually find that the first three, love, joy and peace (in the sense that Paul means them here) are experiences which God the Holy Spirit brings into our lives rather than anything we can work at producing.

For each – number – marks out of 10 for how you are doing. Up arrow or down arrow for whether you are getting better or worse?

Love ( agapē ) is listed first because it is the foundation of the other graces. God is love and loves the world (1 John 4:8; John 3:16 ). Such self-sacrificing love that sent Christ to die for sinners is the kind of love that believers who are Spirit-controlled manifest.

Matthew 22:37 “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”



Joy ( chara ) is a deep and abiding inner rejoicing which was promised to those who abide in Christ (John 15:11 ). It does not depend on circumstances because it rests in God’s sovereign control of all things (Rom. 8:28 ).

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 1 Pet 1:8



Peace (eirēnē) is again a gift of Christ ( John 14:27 ). It is an inner repose and quietness, even in the face of adverse circumstances; it defies human understanding (Phil. 4:7 ).

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.


Strengthened by love, joy, and peace, the second triad of three gifts reaches out to others,


Patience or longsuffering ( makrothymia ) is the quality of forbearance under provocation (2 Cor. 6:6 ; Col. 1:11 ; 3:12 ). It entertains no thoughts of retaliation even when wrongfully treated.
2 Cor 6:4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love



Kindness ( chrēstotēs ) is benevolence in action such as God demonstrated toward men. Since God is kind toward sinners (Rom. 2:4 ; Eph. 2:7 ) a Christian should display the same virtue (2 Cor. 6:6 ; Col 3:12).

kindness, – 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity Col 3:12-14



Goodness (agathōsynē ) may be thought of both as an uprightness of soul and as an action reaching out to others to do good even when it is not deserved.
goodness, HOLINESS – purity , not just a negative quality (absence of sin) but POSITIVE, overflowing!
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.


The final three graces guide the general conduct of a believer who is led by the Spirit.

Faithfulness ( pistis ) is the quality which renders a person trustworthy or reliable, like the faithful servant in Luke 16:10-12 . “Good and faithful servant”

faithfulness, Keeping promises, reliability, – Let your yes be yes, your no be no – TRUTH-TELLING – We saw back in our studies in the letter to the Hebrews chapter 13 that God calls us to Faithfulness in brotherly love and hospitality, especially to those who are in prison or who are suffering. God demands Faithfulness in morality and sexuality, always keeping the vows we have made. And God expects Faithfulness in our use of money and possessions.

Luke 16:10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?



Gentleness or meekness ( prautēs ) marks a person who is submissive to God’s Word (James 1:21 ) and who is considerate of others when discipline is needed (“gently” in Gal. 6:1 ; 2 Tim. 2:25 ; “gentle” in 1 Cor. 4:21 ; Eph. 4:2 ; “gentleness” in Col. 3:12 ; 1 Peter 3:16).

Col 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience

gentleness, `muscular Christianity’ not always right. We follow Jesus Christ who is gentle and humble of heart. God came to Elijah not in earthquake nor in fire, but in gentle whisper, still small voice of calm!



Self-control ( enkrateia); this noun is used in the NT only here and in Acts 24:25 ; 2 Peter 1:6) denotes self-mastery and no doubt primarily relates to curbing the fleshly impulses just described. Such a quality is impossible to attain apart from the power of God’s Spirit (Gal. 5:16).

self-control. – saying no to sin and yes to God!

The fruit of self-control (or temperance in the King James Version) means self-restraint not only from becoming drunk but from all the other “acts of the sinful nature”. Gal 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 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.

Gal 5:22-23 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.


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