I often forget that many of my readers are new Christians I use expressions with which some may not be familiar. Though the Bible has been around for the better part of two millennium, many folk have never picked it up and skimmed it. Few have read it through. Fewer still study it regularly. So, I will endeavor to use less “church talk.”
The “fruit of the spirit” is a simple list of nine qualities that a mature Christian should exhibit. By mature, I mean one who has developed a regular prayer life, regularly studies her Bible, and seeks to grow so deep in a personal relationship with God that His will become her heart’s desire.
Those nine things (“fruits”) are:
The Catholic church adds:
We are never to judge others; that’s not why the Apostle Paul penned this list. He wrote it so that we may examine our own heart. If you are a growing Christian, you will begin seeing these attributes in your own life.
Nor are we to be “fruit inspectors.” Some who call themselves Christians justify judging and gossiping about others by quoting this verse from Matthew 7:17-20.
Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Put in context with the verses preceding it, and one sees Christ referring to false prophets. If we judge the quality of anyone’s life we should begin and end with our own.
Does my life exhibit love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, generosity, modesty, and chastity?
I admit it; I’m lacking in many areas. But I’m surrendered to Christ’s will, and pray He has patience with me and helps me grow and bear good fruit. God fruit.