58. Galatians 5:23
Gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. —Galatians 5:23
If we’re rooted and grounded in Christ, the sap of the Holy Spirit takes the nutrients of the Word, disseminating it through our systems, and producing a life of fruitfulness. The word fruit means “attitudes.” The evidence walking with Christ is a growing set of distinctive attitudes.
- Love. This is the first on the list because it’s the superlative attitude, the fountainhead of all the rest.
- Joy. Love is something we convey to others, but joy is something that lights up our own lives. Joy lifts our own hearts. As that happens, of course, other people are the beneficiaries, including our family members and work associates. The word joy is found more than two hundred times in the Bible, and the corresponding word rejoice is found about two hundred more times.
- Peace. This is the quality of calmness and inner strength keeping us steady during tough times. Peace is acting as though God had already worked out the solutions to all our problems, which is true for every child of God.
- Patience. There are two kinds of patience. The first one is related to circumstances, and we call that perseverance. The second is related to people, and we call that being even tempered. These are qualities of the spiritual life that develop within us as we walk with Christ.
- Kindness. This is the practical side of the first quality on the list—love. It’s when our love expresses itself in countless ways, large and small (but usually small).
- Goodness. The word goodness is used here in a moral sense. It means being morally sound. It’s the practical side of holiness.
- Faith. Many versions translate this word as faithfulness. We’re trustworthy of character because we trust Him who is worthy.
- Gentleness. The Bible frequently commands us to be strong of spirit yet warm and friendly in our dealings with others.
- Self-Control. This comes at the end of the list because it’s like the knot at the end of the string that keeps the pearls from slipping off the necklace and spilling onto the floor.
These nine qualities are listed as one “fruit” because they are compared to grapes on a cluster. As we abide in the vine of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit progressively matures this cluster of attitudes in our personalities. This is what distinguishes believers from everyone else on earth.
One of the challenging aspects of memorizing Galatians 5:22-23 is getting the nine “fruit” in the right order. Perhaps this prayer will help. It’s built on the first letter of each of the virtues—LJPPKGFGS: Lord Jesus, please produce kingdom grace for God’s sake.
I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.—Jesus, in John 15:5
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