With so much negativity in the world around me, I think it’s important to focus on who God is calling me to be. So, I’ve spent the past few months working on my prayer life. I’ve also been studying ways to develop Godly character.
One of the best ways I’ve learned to become more like God is by studying the Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5: 22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control.” I think we can all agree that these are great characteristics to have. But, why is the fruit of the Spirit important to us as Christians?
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What is the Fruit of the Spirit?
When asking the question why is the fruit of the Spirit important, we need to learn more about what it is. After learning what the fruit of the Spirit is, we can learn how to develop it. And when we develop the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, we will be able to practice using it.
Why is it Called the Fruit of the Spirit?
When asking why is the fruit of the Spirit important, we need to first learn what it is. The “spirit” in the fruit of the Spirit stands for the Holy Spirit.
In the Bible, God is referred to as having three different forms: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father is what we are usually talking about when we say “God”. The Son is usually used to mean Jesus. These are both more concrete forms of God.
The Holy Spirit is the spirit form of God. It has been mentioned in both the Old and New Testament. In Psalms 51:11 (WEB), David wrote, “Don’t throw me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” Jesus was also said to be “… full of the Holy Spirit…” (Luke 4:1 WEB). Acts 8 talks about the Holy Spirit being received by the Apostles and early believers. It’s the part of God that stays with us as Christians.
Christianity.com says the meaning of the word “fruit” in the Bible can be an actual fruit. But it can also stand for “deed, action, or result.”
Which One Makes the Most Sense?
Both of these meanings can be applied to the fruit of the Spirit. When a person becomes a Christian, they don’t instantly become perfect. It takes a whole lifetime to become like Christ. Growing fruit is just like that. I planted my garden in May, but my green beans weren’t ready until late June. My tomato and pepper plants are finally ready now, and we’re still waiting on most of the corn. Literal fruit doesn’t happen overnight, so developing fruit in your life takes time too.
The same is true when talking about fruit as a “result” of something. Almost everything we do takes time to produce results. Parenting is a long haul job. You won’t see the results for many years. Getting healthy is the same way. You can’t change your diet and exercise for one day and expect to be in great shape tomorrow. Developing the fruit of the Spirit in your life takes time too.
How Can You Receive the Fruit of the Spirit?
Now we need to know how to receive the fruit of the Spirit in your own life. This is another important point to think about when asking why is the fruit of the Spirit important.
To start receiving the fruit of the Spirit, you have to accept Jesus as your Lord and savior. Prayer is a HUGE part of becoming a Christian. Your first prayer is usually to ask God for forgiveness and to ask Jesus into your heart. Many churches (like mine) believe that baptism is an important symbol of your surrender to Christ and being born a new person. Some churches also encourage a confession of faith in front of other church members.
According to Joyce Myer, when becoming a Christian, the Holy Spirit joins you and small seeds of the fruit are planted in your heart. Like I mentioned in the last section, these seeds don’t produce perfect fruit overnight. They have to be grown and developed over time.
Many people, even non-Christians, can possess at least a couple of the fruit of the Spirit before the Holy Spirit starts guiding them. But, each fruit mentioned isn’t meant to stand apart by themselves. The entire list of nine fruit of the Spirit goes together to help Christians become more like Jesus. Each of them is something we must work on all the time. And sometimes, we fall backward in one aspect or another.
Which Fruit of the Spirit is Most Important?
All nine of the fruit of the Spirit go together to make us more like Christ. They are all important and should be developed at the same time in us. But after asking why is the fruit of the Spirit important, we also need to ask which one is the most important.
In Matthew 22:36, Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” (WEB) There are many answers he could have given. As a Hebrew child, he had memorized the first five books of the Old Testament. But he simply answered like this, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)
Love is the Most Important
In Jesus’ opinion, love was, and is, the most important commandment from God. This would make it the most important fruit of the Spirit too.
Loving God is the most important part of being a Christian. I mean, why would we even call ourselves Christians without loving and seeking a relationship with Him?
But he didn’t stop there. “A second is equally important..,” talks about loving your neighbor as yourself. If we are Christians, and truly love God, then we should also love people as ourselves.
1 Corinthians 13 is sometimes called the love chapter. It’s all about how important love is to us as Christians. In this chapter, a few of the other fruit of the Spirit are listed as characteristics of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
In those verses, you have patience and kindness as the first two parts of love. Not having envy, pride, or being boastful sound a lot like self-control. You also have gentleness that goes along with not getting angry and keeping no record of wrongs. Since all of these aspects have to do with love, love should be the most important fruit of the Spirit.
Learn How to Grow the Fruit of the Spirit
After learning what the fruit of the Spirit is, we now know why is the fruit of the Spirit important. And now that we know why it is important, we need to learn how to grow the fruit of the Spirit in our own lives. Three ways we can do this are through prayer, reading the Bible, and guarding our hearts and minds.
Grow Fruit Through Bible Reading and Prayer
Earlier we’ve answered what the fruit of the Spirit is and why is the fruit of the Spirit important for Christians. Now it’s time to learn some key ways to grow it in our own lives. Two of the best ways to do this are through reading the Bible and prayer.
The Bible is God’s word. It has tons of history, stories, songs, and direct quotes from Jesus himself. In it, you’ll find scripture covering any topic, situation, or emotion you could ever experience. It was given to us so we can continue learning about God until we make it to heaven.
Prayer is another way to learn from God. But it’s also a great way to communicate with him too!
Prayer is a direct link to God. We can use it at any time and in any situation. Isn’t that amazing?!
Now We Need to Use Them!
Since we have these two great links to God, it’s important to use them. Not only will they bring us closer to God, but they will also help us develop the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
I’ve written several posts about spending time with God every day. Since the fruit of the Spirit takes time to develop, it’s important to do the right things to help you grow them. Spending time with God is one of the best ways to do this!
Each morning, I take a few minutes to spend time with God before I start my day. Lately, I’ve been using the Bible app devotionals to guide my Bible study. I like them because I can choose from thousands of topics. Plus, I can schedule a reminder on my phone, so I never skip a day in God’s word.
After reading the devotional and Bible passages for the day, I spend a few minutes in prayer. The scripture I read usually guides my prayers for that day. I also keep a prayer list of daily and weekly prayers to bring to God. Spending time with God not only helps me tackle the day, but it also helps me to develop the fruit of the Spirit in my daily life.
Guard Your Heart and Your Mind
After learning why is the fruit of the Spirit important, and that Bible reading and prayer help us develop it, we also need to think of other ways to grow the fruit of the Spirit. Guarding our hearts and minds is another crucial way to grow the fruit in us.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (NLT) There are several other times in the Bible where guarding your heart (or something similar) is mentioned. This phrase simply means to keep your heart and mind as pure as you can.
The best way to guard your heart and mind is by filtering what you allow into them. “Garbage in, garbage out,” is a quote used to remind people to eat healthy. But it can also be used in developing the fruit of the Spirit as Christians. If what we read or watch goes against what God teaches, then that’s what will come out of us in what we do and say.
This isn’t always easy. We are constantly bombarded with TV shows and movies that go against growing the fruit of the Spirit. And with the internet, we always have access to anything we want.
Even social media can keep us from guarding our hearts. A few weeks ago, I noticed that Facebook wasn’t helping my mental health at all. Reading all of the ugly posts and shared articles were really getting to me. I noticed that I wasn’t showing ANY fruit of the Spirit after spending time on it!
After praying about it, taking a break from Facebook seemed like the best option. In order to guard my heart, I had to limit the garbage coming into it. Although I miss interacting with friends and family, I know it was the best choice for now. I now have a lot more love, joy, and peace without it!
How Can Christians Practice the Fruit of the Spirit
Now that we know why is the fruit of the Spirit important and how to develop it in our lives, we as Christians need to practice using the fruit of the Spirit. This is something we actively have to do, every day. You can’t just plant a seed and hope it will grow. The same is true with the fruit of the Spirit. We have to actually grow them through our thoughts and behaviors.
Since love is the most important fruit of the Spirit, it’s a great place to start when practicing the fruit of the Spirit. Each aspect of the fruit is developed first through love. This love we are practicing first comes from God’s love for us. “And now these three remain; faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)