Fruit of the Spirit

When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Jesus is perfect love, joy, peace, patience and all the other fruit embodied in a single person. To have the fruit of the Spirit is to be like Christ.

How then does the Holy Spirit produce these nine fruits in your life? Does He create them instantly? Will you wake up one day and be suddenly filled with these characteristics fully developed? No. Fruit always matures and ripens slowly.

God develops the fruit of the Spirit in you by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you're tempted to express the exact opposite quality! Character development always involves a choice, and temptation provides that opportunity.

For instance, God teaches us love by putting some unlovely people around us. It takes no character to love people who are lovely and loving to you. God teaches us real joy in the midst of sorrow, when we turn to Him. Happiness depends on external circumstances, but joy is based on your relationship to God.

God develops real peace within us, not by making things go the way we planned, but by allowing times of chaos and confusion. Anyone can be peaceful watching a beautiful sunset or relaxing on vacation. We learn real peace by choosing to trust God in circumstances in which we are tempted to worry or be afraid.

Likewise, patience is developed in circumstances in which we're forced to wait and are tempted to be angry or have a short fuse.

God uses the opposite situation of each fruit to allow us a choice. You can't claim to be good if you've never been tempted to be bad. You can't claim to be faithful if you're never had the opportunity to be unfaithful. Integrity is built by defeating the temptation to be dishonest; humility grows when we refuse to be prideful; and endurance develops every time you reject the temptation to give up. Every time you defeat a temptation, you become more like Jesus!

From the book "Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren.
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