Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

"Fruit must be recognized as effects in the individual manifesting which benefit those to whom he is ministering." Walter J. Cummins - "Fruit of the Spirit"

Fruit of the spirit is not a gift or a talent.  Fruit is the result of the operation of the manifestations of the spirit, the indication of a cultivated spirit-filled life.  Fruit indicates the quality of life.

Fruit of the spirit, like the fruit of an apple tree, grapevine or any other plant, is a result of cultivation and growth.  And just as the apple tree produces fruit for us to eat, the fruit of the spirit produced in your life by your cultivation of the spirit of God within you produces fruit for the benefit of others.  The fruit in your life attracts others to God's Word.  The fruit in your life ministers to and benefits those with whom you share God's Word.

It is possible to have holy spirit within, without exhibiting any fruit.  It is the manifestation (the operation, the working, the cultivation) of the spirit that produces the fruit.

 Fruit of the spirit is the result of the operation of the manifestations of the spirit.

The nine manifestations of the spirit explained and listed in I Corinthians 12 are speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, faith, miracles, and healing.

We are exhorted in Romans 8:1-6 and Galatians 5:16-18 to walk by the spirit rather than by the flesh.  To walk by the flesh is to walk by our five senses according to the world.  To walk by the spirit is to operate the nine manifestations of the spirit listed in I Corinthians 12.  If we walk by the spirit, operating the manifestations of the spirit, we will produce the fruit of the spirit which will benefit those to whom we minister.

Walking by the flesh produces the works of the flesh:

Galatians 5:19-21a Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like:...
BUT...walking by the spirit produces the fruit of the spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.

Because fruit is produced for the benefit of others, the fruit of the spirit produced in each individual believer function in the body of Christ in three basic ways: 1) doing, 2) encouraging, and 3) guarding.

  1. DOING
    1. Love
    2. Longsuffering (or patience)
    3. Faith (or believing)
    1. Joy
    2. Gentleness
    3. Meekness
    1. Peace
    2. Goodness
    3. Temperance (or self-control)


Love is the Greek word agape. It is God's Love. Love is a doing fruit.  Love is giving. Love activates our believing action on God's Word (Galatians 5:6b says that believing or faith worketh by love).  Love is what activated Christ's decision to die for us.  Love is what activated God (who is Love) to give His only begotten son for us.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,...

Love activates by doing - by giving!


Joy is the Greek word chara.  It means cheerfulness. Joy is an encouraging fruit. Joy is not the same as happiness.  You can be happy because of the five senses situation around you.  Joy is an inner exuberance or effervescence that is a result of your operation of the spirit of God.  It is a cheerfulness within that is not related to the senses situation around you.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God.

Jesus Christ looked forward to that which was to come with joy and he endured the cross.  He certainly was not happy about having to be crucified.  In fact he asked the Father three times if there was another way to get the job done without going through the pain and suffering.  But he endured the cross and did God's Will with an inner joy as he looked forward to that which would be accomplished by his sacrifice.

Joy encourages with an inner effervescence that comes from operating the manifestations.


Peace is the Greek word eirene.  Peace is a guarding fruit. Peace quiets the individual on the inside.  When the world around is troubled and turbulent we can continue to walk God's Word because we operate the manifestations of the spirit and have that deep-seated peace on the inside.  Peace guards our hearts.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep [guard] your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Peace guards by quieting.


Longsuffering is the Greek word makrothumia. It means to put off wrath.  It means to have patience.  Longsuffering is a doing fruit.  Longsuffering endures and puts up with people and circumstances.

Ephesians 4:1b-2 ...walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Longsuffering [patience] forbears and endures by doing.


Gentleness is the Greek word chrestotes. It means kindness.  Gentleness is an encouraging fruit. Gentleness wins others to God's Word by encouraging them.  The opposite of gentleness (or kindness) is severity.

Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness [chrestos - gentleness] and forbearance and longsuffering [patience]; not knowing that the goodness [chrestos - gentleness] of God leadeth thee to repentance?

The gentleness of God leads people to repentance (change).  Gentleness encourages and by kindness leads people to believe God's Word and get saved.

Gentleness wins others by encouraging.


Goodness is the Greek word agathosune.  Goodness ministers to others to guard them.  Goodness is a guarding fruit.

Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Romans 15:14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Goodness guards by ministering to others.


Faith is the Greek word pistis.  It means believing.  Believing is having trust and confidence in the Word of God to the end that you act upon it.  Believing [faith] is a doing fruit.  Believing appropriates results by taking action on the Word.

Mark 11:23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

Faith or Believing appropriates by doing God's Word.


Meekness is the Greek word praotes.  Meekness is an encouraging fruit.  Meekness encourages positive results.  Meekness is coachability.  Meekness listens with humility.

James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Titus 3:2b ... shewing all meekness unto all men.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Meekness encourages positive results.


Temperance is the Greek word egkrateia. It means self-control.  Temperance [self-control] is a guarding fruit.  By exercising self-control we control and guard our results.

I Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate [self-controlled] in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

Here in Corinthians self-control is compared to the training and self-control an Olympic athlete exercises as he prepares to win the contest.

Self-control guards results.

  1. Love activate by doing
  2. Joy encourages with effervescence
  3. Peace guards by quieting
  4. Longsuffering [patience] forbears and endures by doing
  5. Gentleness wins others by encouraging
  6. Goodness guards by ministering
  7. Faith [believing] appropriates by doing
  8. Meekness encourages positive results
  9. Temperance [self-control] guards results.
Although each quality can be described and is visible as fruit in a believer's life, you must remember that these qualities are fruit of a cultivated spirit-filled life.  They are the results of the operation of the nine manifestations of the spirit.

Also important is the fact that fruit is produced to benefit others.

As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. Proverbs 25:25

October, 1997
Michael Cortright