"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control."
The Fruit of the Spirit is the distinctive attribute of the Holy Spirit
given by God to a new follower of Christ that dwell within the heart and soul of that Christian.
You might have noticed that Paul used the term “fruit” as opposed to “fruits” when referring to the nine attributes of the Holy Spirit.
Paul then goes on to make a list of the fruit. So, why does Paul refer to the fruit in singular form when there are more than just one attributes/fruits listed? There are varying theories on this, but the most reasonable one that I would agree with is that these "plural fruit," come from a single source, the Holy Spirit, and we are given the Holy Spirit when we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, thus we receive Him and who He is. It's important to understand that even though we receive Him and His fruit, this does not mean that we will be perfect in living His attributes out in our own lives. Some may find being patient easier than others and some may find being kind easier than others, again, we posses the nine attributes of the Holy Spirit, but like with anything, as we grow in our relationship with the Lord and as we die to our human nature, we will grow in Him and His fruit will also grow within us.
Let's take a brief look at the previous verse in Galatians 5 right before the Fruit of the Spirit is listed.
"So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God." Galatians 5:16-20
It is important to understand that “growing fruit” to maturity is not passive but an active process.
So the question now is, “How do we grow the Fruit of the Spirit?” The bible tells us that we must abide in Jesus.
What does "Abide in Christ" mean? The word “abide” means to, remain, lodge, dwell, continue, and endure. So when Jesus tells us to, “Abide in Him,” He is telling us to remain – continue – and endure in Him.
When a person is saved, he or she is described as being “in Christ” Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17, meaning we are kept secure in this permanent relationship with Jesus. John 10:28–29.
Abiding in Christ is the position for all true believers. Jesus tells His disciples in John 15:4–7, that experiencing true life and growing relationally and spiritually in their lives will only come from spending time with Him and Jesus being the great object lesson teacher that He is, gives the picture of branches bonded to a vine: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
Our journey in Christ as we spend time in His word, in prayer, and spending time with other believes will help us remain Him and grow the Fruit of the Spirit. Growth will come when we cooperate with the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit helps us in many ways in our lives, but the most crucial one is to help us become more like Jesus 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.
These attributes of the Spirit are listed in other places of the Bible as well as commands from God that we believers must “DO.”
1. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39).
2. "Rejoice always” or be joyful (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
3. "Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." (2 Timothy 2:22),
4. "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (Ephesians 4:2),
5. "Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness." (1 Timothy 6:11),
6. "As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10),
7. "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." (1 Corinthians 16:13),
8. "Always to be gentle toward everyone." (Titus 3:2),
9. "Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,[a] and virtue with knowledge,6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
And we find ourselves right back to where we began, with "brotherly affection with love."
The Fruit of the Spirit in a nutshell is the out pouring God's love into a newly saved Christian, as the Spirit helps to grow His Fruit in that person, so that they can become more like Jesus, to help others come to know the great - great love of God.