This is the 5th – and last – lesson in a month-long series on “The Fruit of the Spirit.” You can also download today’s lesson as a PDF. You can access previous lessons here: First, Second, Third, and Fourth.
When we began this study, I mentioned my lemon tree. How it budded and bloomed. How the little lemons began to grow. Six weeks later the lemons aren’t ready to harvest. The fruit is still growing; the lemons still green. Fruit production takes time. But I will drink lemonade!
Like physical fruit needs time to grow, the fruit of the Spirit will not ripen in our lives overnight. We must work consistently to crucify the old nature. We must continually refuse to give in to our fleshly desires and yield our will to the Spirit’s. We can say “no” to our sinful nature, accept the “way out” God provides, and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading.
As we grow, the characteristics of Christ – fruit of the Spirit – will be manifested in our lives. As the Spirit transforms us more and more into the image of Christ, we will produce a beautiful, bountiful fruit harvest!
Plant: Knowing the Fruit
In Week Two, we discussed the meaning of “fruit.” The Greek word “karpos” refers to the natural product of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside every believer. The word is singular, signifying that “fruit” is a unified whole. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary suggests we think of the fruit as a “bunch of grapes instead of separate pieces of fruit.” As we grow in Christ-likeness we will produce all the characteristics of His nature.
Read Galatians 5:22-23. List the 9 characteristics of the Spirit’s fruit.
Let’s consider the meaning of each characteristic. Place the letter of a definition in the blank before the correct characteristic. (To double-check, the answer key is at the end of the lesson!)
___1. Love a. Enduring circumstances & other people, even when tried
b. Generosity springing from kindness; can include “sterner” good acts
___3. Peace c. Attitude expressing itself in loving ways & seeks others’ welfare
___4. Patience d. Trustworthiness; describes someone willing to die for Christ
___5. Kindness e. Strength to control sinful desires, to say “no” to the flesh
___ 6. Goodness
f. “Happiness” that doesn’t depend on physical circumstances
___ 7. Faithfulness g. Acting in a good and gentle way toward another
h. Tranquility; harmony with people & God; rest, contentment
___9. Self-Control i. Linked to humility; not weakness; opposite of self-interest
Cultivate: Find out More
Let’s take a quick look at an example of each characteristic in action. Read the following Scripture passages. Make observations on the operation of these characteristics.
Galatians 5:13-14 (love):
John 16:22 (joy):
Romans 5:1 (peace):
2 Timothy 4:2 (patience):
Titus 3:4 (kindness):
Romans 15:14 (goodness):
2 Thessalonians 1:4 (faithfulness/faith):
2 Timothy 2:24-25 (gentleness/gentle):
2 Peter 1:5-6 (self-control):
Grow: Ready for a Harvest
We’ve talked facts and definitions. Now, let’s get personal. It’s time to do a fruit check. This is between each of us and God. Spend some quiet time with Him now and reflect on each characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit.
Ask God to show you the quality of the Spirit’s fruit in your life. Think about some recent circumstances. In the space below, jot down times you feel the Spirit’s character was manifested and times you allowed your natural, sinful character to take over.
Although we will battle our fleshly nature for the rest of our lives, we become more sensitive to the Spirit’s leading as we mature and learn to recognize His voice. As we end our study together, I pray God will encourage, strengthen, and grow you in the days ahead!
Let’s talk: What did you learn in this study that has encouraged or challenged you the most?
Fruit of the Spirit definition answer key. 1c, 2f, 3h, 4a, 5g, 6b, 7d, 8i, 9e