The author of How God Loves Us: 40 Days to Discovering His Character in the Fruit of the Spirit talks about the importance of the fruit of the Spirit.
A Closer Look at the Fruit of the Spirit
How does the Church typically talk about the fruit of the Spirit?
The church has typically treated the fruit of the Spirit as a “to-do” list. We go through it and see which ones we are deficient in and then we go about trying to change those things about us. This typically leads to one of two responses. First response is that we try and fail miserably. This leads to condemnation of self and frustration.
Second response is that we try and succeed (at least for a short period of time) and this leads to self-righteousness, pride, and condemnation of others. Or maybe we experience both the responses in the same day just at different times. Either response is a self-focus. It is completely leaving “the Spirit” out of it.
What is a common misconception about the fruit of the Spirit?
A common misconception is that we can muster up the power to do the fruit of the Spirit without the Spirit’s work. We think all we need is a little extra dose of self-control and maybe a couple of verses written on a note where we can see it and then somehow, we will change. The fruit of the Spirit is the work of the Spirit in our lives. They call us to look outside of ourselves and to the triune God for this fruit to take root in our lives.
How does the fruit of the Spirit reveal the beauty of the triune God?
Only the triune God Himself possesses and embodies this fruit. The fruit of the Spirit are all the things that He in His very nature is. It really is so extravagantly lovely. We have taken the fruit and reduced them to a check list when in actuality they are a portrayal of Him. Who is love? God. Who is kind? God. Who is patient? God. Who is gentle? Who is joyful? God.
Sometimes we think of God as a grumpy ogre who exacts punishment on those that don’t obey, but this is not the picture the Bible gives us. The fruit of the Spirit is the just that, the fruit of what your life will look like the more you focus on who He is and how He loves. And the really devastatingly beautiful thing is that even when you forget Him and forget His character and don’t display these fruit He can’t stop being who He is. He forgives and continues to be loving, kind, patient, joyful, etc.