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The Fruit of the SpiritSample

The Fruit of the Spirit

DAY 1 OF 4

The Fruit of the Spirit—Love

The fruit—not fruits—of the Spirit springs from obedience. The fruit of the Spirit is a requirement of all believers. Whereas the gifts of the Spirit are sovereignly bestowed (1 Cor. 12:11, 18) and are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29), the fruit of the Spirit is what you and I are obliged to pursue.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the effect, or result, of living the Christian life in obedience. It is what flows in those who resist the “works of the flesh,” namely, “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies” (Gal. 5:19–21). Those who give in to the works of the flesh forfeit their inheritance in the kingdom of God (v. 21).

To put it another way, the genuinely saved person has no choice; the fruit of the Spirit is a command.

Love is listed first. Why? Possibly because showing agape love will likely incorporate all the other qualities on Paul’s list. Three Greek words are translated as love: (1) agape is unselfish, self-giving love; (2) eros is physical love; and (3) philia is brotherly love. Galatians 5:22 uses agape love. If you truly experience this love, you will have joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We find the proof in 1 Corinthians 13, where Paul unpacks the meaning of agape love. Once you grasp 1 Corinthians 13, you will discover that everything Paul calls the “fruit of the Spirit” is beautifully woven into 1 Corinthians 13.

I must also state the two ways the fruit of the Spirit manifests:  

  1. Spontaneously: Strange as it may seem, sometimes love just erupts! Like a geyser that shoots out water without provocation or cause, love sometimes flows with no effort on our part. It comes easily. The Holy Spirit does this.
  2. By an act of the will: On the other hand, the same person who experienced this love spontaneously yesterday struggles today. What do you do? You intentionally force yourself to keep no record of wrongs; you refuse to point the finger. You work at it. But because you have the Holy Spirit, you can do it. Yesterday it was easy. Today it is not easy.

Why? I believe that sometimes the Holy Spirit is simply waiting for us to make an effort. Either way, the result is to demonstrate to others that you truly show the fruit of the Spirit.

The kind of love listed in the fruit of the Spirit is a self-sacrificing, unselfish love. It is the love that lies behind God sending His Son into the world (John 3:16). It is perhaps best summed up in 1 Corinthians 13:5: love “keeps no record of wrongs” (NIV). Why do we keep records? To prove we have paid our bills. Why keep a record of wrongs? To bring up the past, to point the finger, to make a person feel guilty. When you experience agape love, you do not bring up one’s guilty past. Just as God forgives, you forgive. It is the first fruit Paul mentions. The other qualities follow love, according to Paul.

There are also occasions when the fruit-of-the-Spirit love is manifested apart from the act of forgiveness. There are times when the dove comes down on us spontaneously without our consciously having to forgive by an act of the will. God may choose to show up when we are not even praying! He is both sovereign and gracious. The love that flows from the Spirit can even be experienced by refusing to give in to any temptation of the flesh—including sexual temptation, greed, or jealousy. The same fruit of the Spirit will often manifest through our dignifying a trial. In other words, instead of complaining and grumbling when a trial suddenly comes, we submit to it—as it “falleth from above,” as the hymn “Like a River Glorious” puts it.

The same can be said for other fruit of the Spirit. Whereas consciously forgiving others will result in love, joy, and peace, we may nonetheless discover such fruit of the Spirit because our lives are being directed by a sovereign, gracious God.

Personal Reflection

Have you experienced spontaneous love for someone, where love simply erupts in your heart without explanation? Take some time to remember this moment. Ask the Lord what He was teaching you about His nature and His kingdom through this experience.  

Have you experienced the deliberate choice to love someone when it’s not easy to do so? Take some time to remember the moment you chose to love. Ask the Lord what He was teaching you about the fruit of the Spirit and His intentional love.

Day 2

About this Plan

The Fruit of the Spirit

From the author of Total Forgiveness, R.T. Kendall will take you on a journey in this four-day devotional plan to help you discover a vibrant relationship with God through the fruit of the Spirit. Be prepared for a refre...


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