“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal 5:22-23)
Have you ever noticed? “The fruit”… “is”… This is singular language, not plural. These are not fruits of the Spirit, they are fruit of the Spirit. “Fruits” come from different trees. “Fruit” speaks of one tree. There is one source of all these characteristics, and they are a package deal. These are the true manifestations of the Spirit, and you don’t need to follow the latest “move of the Spirit” to find them.
Thinking in terms of “fruits” is like looking at the above verse as a list of superpowers. “I have the fruit of love”, or “My fruit is self-control”. That’s nonsense. These are not individualized gifts. They are descriptors that will be placed on the person who lives by the Spirit.
If you are wholeheartedly following the Spirit’s leading, these characteristics will all be true of you. If they are not, that means you are not truly entrusting your life to Christ. That is because “the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit” (vs 17), and “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (vs 24)
These are not spiritual gifts or abilities we should seek. These are indicators of our condition. If we notice a lack in any of these, it is an indication that we have fallen back into old patterns, or perhaps never fully trusted Christ in the first place. Either way, the remedy is simple: “live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (vs 16)
Christ-followers are marked by this evidence: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
If you don’t see the fruit in your life, it’s an easy fix. But don’t seek the fruit – seek the source.