I would like to spend some time over the next couple of weeks looking at the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ in Galatians 5.
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.
This well-known passage of the Bible is part of a letter written to the Galatians. Judaizers were teaching them that they must keep the Jewish practice of circumcision. They wanted the Galatians to seek their salvation through obediance to law rather than by faith. Paul wrote this letter to combat this teaching.
The first half of Galatians chapter 5 is all about newfound freedom in Christ. It ends with a caution not to misuse that freedom by indulging our natural sinful human nature. Paul didn’t want this freedom to be an excuse for people to cast of all restraint. His solution to this is not to fall back into legalism but to “Live by the Spirit” which is the focus of the second half of the chapter.
There are two forces at odds with each other, our spirit and our sinful nature. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious and Paul goes on to give a list of sins. This is our natural human behaviour. This is contrasted with what Paul calls ‘The fruit of the spirit’. These are the characteristics that are developed in the life of someone who has the Holy Spirit living inside of them: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodnes, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. These are all completely un-natural for us. A person cannot fully exhibit these traits merely by their own moral discipline, it comes from God.
So why is it that people who call themselves Christians don’t always display this fruit? Usually it is because we are not living in submission to God. At the risk of using a car metephor, we have taken over the driver’s seat instead of letting God drive.
I will be looking at each of these fruit one by one in order in coming posts.
 NIV Bible Study notes. Copyright (C) 1985; The Zondervan Corporation.
 The Lion Handbook to the Bible. Third Edition. Edited by Pat and David Alexander. A Lion Book. 1999.
 Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.