The fruit of the Spirit is an encounter with God that leads us into an ongoing experience which opens us up to the fullness of who God is for us and becomes the lifestyle that He takes the greatest pleasure in. What God is offering us is His unchanging self so that we, too, can become unchanging in our way of life. That means unchanging in our nature and our character, unchanging in the sense of, “I am going to become like Jesus no matter what occurs, and I am unchanging in that desire.” We become constant and consistent in our approach to people and circumstances regardless of whether those are good, bad or ugly.
The fruit of the Spirit gives us confidence in His relationship with us, and as we commit ourselves to practicing the fruit of the Spirit what we are doing is we are sewing into His character and reaping back from His favor. Nothing can separate us from the love of God so the fruit of the Spirit is where we learn to abide in God’s nature. The fruit of the Spirit is the power of God to enable us to become Christ-like.
When you look at love, love is exclusive affection. Love is about cherishing. It’s about treasuring. Love is the tangible favor and goodness of God. Love demonstrates loving-kindness. It’s about having a regard for someone with benevolence attached. It’s about taking delight in someone or something so that you cause that person to feel beloved just because you are a friend in their life.
Joy is about an intensity of gladness. You simply cannot stand there without smiling and look at someone and say (in an Eeyore manner of speaking), “Well, I am joyful. I feel joy.” Joy is about delight! It’s big. Joy is bigger than you, and it’s bigger than all your circumstances. That’s why James said, Count everything as joy. What he meant was swamp your circumstances with the joy of the Lord, overwhelm your situation with the happiness of God. There is an intensity of gladness, there is a delight. Joy is about rejoicing over something. Joy is who God is. Rejoicing is our response to who God is. So when I’m worshiping, one of the things I like to do is I just like to rejoice in the fact that God is the happiest person I know.
Joy is about elation. It’s about having a sense of wonder. It’s taking absolute pleasure in someone or something. It’s being jubilant. It’s being cheerful, triumphant, celebratory. So when we are practicing joy, we are learning the art of celebration. What are we celebrating? God is for me. God is with me. He is for me, He is on my side. He is in me. He surrounds me. Everything about Him is for me, and He will help me. I am rejoicing in the fact that I know what God is like.
Peace is a state of being quiet. It’s about learning to be calm, to be restful. It’s a freedom from disturbance. It’s an ease of mind. It’s about stillness, having an inclination towards calm so that walking into a troubled situation, you bring the peace of God with you. You know, you walking into a room should make a difference to the atmosphere.
Peace is about being undisturbed, untroubled, content, composed, free from strife. All those things I have described there, they are all encounters and experiences that make us Christ-like.
Patience is the quality of being able to persevere under pressure with a good heart and mind. It’s about endurance without complaint, not easily provoked, having a calm expectation, being even-tempered, a quiet persistence in the nature of God.
Kindness is about being considerate, being thoughtful towards someone, being benevolent, compassionate, generous, loving, showing superior qualities of grace.
Goodness is about looking after someone’s welfare, acting with honor, being favorable towards someone, blessing them, lifting them up, giving them a divine advantage.
Faithfulness is about being consistent, constant, unceasing, firm in your promise, loyal, reliable, unwavering, keeping your word, being trustworthy.
Gentleness is really about having a powerful humility, being meek. You understand that meekness is not weakness, it’s strength under control, being merciful, sweet-spirited like a dove, tenderhearted, overcoming.
Self control is about being restrained, having a good frame of heart and mind, exercising discretion, believing the best about someone, being composed and disciplined and even-tempered, having a moderating influence on people and situations.
These are all the attributes that God regularly practices in His relationship with us. Think of it this way, if God didn’t practice the fruit of the Spirit we would all be dead! If all of those things work for us and compel us to become Christ-like, if they all work for us in some hugely brilliant, amazing way, then they also work against the enemy. Whatever works for you automatically works against the enemy in the Kingdom.
–An Excerpt from Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit
Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit is a 2-disc teaching series available at Brilliant Book House that was designed to teach you the importance of each Fruit of the Spirit in bringing the Kingdom down to Earth. When we practice the Fruit of the Spirit we learn to abide in the unchanging self of God. Our confidence grows by this upgraded consistency and we learn how to sow into God’s character and reap from His favor! It is the power of God to enable us to become Christ-like.