But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
I am convinced there is a dual responsibility for these traits to be evident in our lives. Part of the responsibility for these things being visible in our lives belongs to the Holy Spirit. That is what we see looking at these verses. He produces these things in our lives. However we can’t discount our responsibility to develop these traits.
When we look at the different traits that make of the fruit of the Spirit we immediately recognize that in other places in the New Testament we are commanded to bear the fruit listed. For instance…
Jesus said for us to love one another with the same kind of love He has given to us (John 13:34).
In Philippians we are commanded to rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4).
In the Sermon On The Mount Jesus commands us not to worry (Matthew 6:25-31) and worry is the enemy of God’s peace.
In Ephesians we are commanded to be patient with each other making allowances for each other’s faults (Ephesians 4:2).
Ephesians also commands us to be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32).
In 2 Peter we are told to make every effort to add goodness to our faith (2 Peter 1:5).
In the book of Revelation we are told to be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10).
In the book of Colossians we are told that we must clothe ourselves with gentleness (Colossians 3:12).
In 1 Peter we are told to think clearly and be self-controlled (1 Peter 1:13).
The reason I’m taking the time to explain this is because of how easy it is for us to become passive about having these traits in our lives. If we aren’t careful what we’ll do is see that the Holy Spirit produces this fruit and then set back and do nothing to develop this fruit in our lives. Then when this fruit isn’t evident, we basically blame the Holy Spirit for not producing this fruit in our lives. When the truth is the Holy Spirit would certainly produce this fruit if we would only do our part of surrendering to Him and then seeking to develop this fruit in our lives. The fact that the Holy Spirit will produce these traits in our lives does not release us to live passively and not striving to develop these. We must work to develop them. Developing the fruit of the Spirit will be the focus of what I write about.
Which of these is most difficult for you? Why do you think that is?