We could not talk about a Spirit-filled life without talking about the Fruit of the Spirit. The Fruit of the Spirit is not apples, oranges, watermelon, bananas and the like. The Fruit of the Spirit is what is produced in you and through you as a result of the Holy Spirit living in you. It is the natural by-product of God’s presence in your life.
Galatians 5:22–23 describe the Fruit of the Spirit:
“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22–23 (ESV)
To better understand the Fruit of the Spirit I have discovered an invaluable exercise is to write a definition for each of the fruit. Before you go any further, take out a pen & paper or start a new note on your computer or phone. Write a definition for each fruit. After you have written a definition, come up with a word or two that serve as an antonym to each fruit.
This is my list together with the antonyms:
It is unconditional love that expects nothing in return. It is not based on emotion. It is an unwavering commitment toward the welfare of others. Opposite: Self-serving
It goes beyond happiness. Even in the midst of difficult circumstances when I may not be happy, I have joy. Opposite: Discontent
This is living with contentment in a world that is never satisfied. It is not that the storms of life cease, but that I find shelter from the storms through my relationship with Jesus. Opposite: Anxiety-filled
It is long-suffering. It is enduring. It is willing to wait. In a world of instant gratification, patience is rare. Opposite: impatient and high-strung
It is compassion. It is care. It is generosity. It is the willingness to go out of my way for others and to be inconvenienced. Opposite: Privileged and elitist
This is integrity. This is the courage to do the right thing even though it is the hard thing. It is to speak the truth in love even though I may be reviled for it. Opposite: Dishonest and deceitful
This is having a stick-to-it-ness. This is a person who is true to their promises. They say what they mean and mean what they say. You can rely on them. Opposite: Unreliable
It is quick to listen and slow to speak. But when this person speaks, people listen. It is to put the desire for wisdom and understanding before the desire to be heard. Opposite: Overbearing, arrogant, divisive, melodramatic
I don’t know if I like any word that starts with “self.” Maybe a better word would be surrendered. Self-controlled is about being God-controlled. Opposite: Undiscerning and undisciplined
How is your list different from mine? How is it similar? Share in the comments below.
Questions for Reflection
- How are the Fruit of the Spirit evident in your life?
- What fruit do you feel are lacking?
- Make a list of the Fruit of the Spirit and write your definition for each.
- Share your comments.