For the past five weeks I’ve been teaching on the Fruit of the Spirit, found in Galatians 5:22-23. There are a variety of opinions on how the Holy Spirit develops this fruit in our lives. I’ve settled on the concept that the Fruit of the Spirit develops in progression.
For example, the first one in the list is love. That fruit is the baseline for all that follows. We begin by developing the fruit of love, and when that is in place, we then have access to the fruit of joy. Love plus joy yields peace, and upon those three we can then move toward patience. Once I have a handle on patience, I can then demonstrate kindness, followed by goodness, and so forth.
To understand it in reverse, you’ll never find a kind person who is not loving, or a person at peace who doesn’t have a measure of joy.
Because fruit is singular, we need to embrace the whole, not just the individual virtues listed by Paul. My grocery store has a salad bar that includes a large assortment of fresh fruit. I’m interested in the berries and the pineapple, but will always pass on fruit like kiwi. The Fruit of the Spirit doesn’t work that way. We can’t pick and choose joy and peace to the exclusion of patience and faithfulness. We begin with love and add to it one by one until we arrive at the final trait, self control.