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Being a Christian is more than just making a one-time decision. It's more than just a matter of receiving forgiveness and stopping there.
A true Christian is a person who embarks on a lifelong journey of ever increasing yieldedness to the Holy Spirit. This relationship with God's Spirit has an important purpose: He wants to make us just like Jesus.
And that's where the yieldedness comes in. The result of obedience to the Holy Spirit is what the Bible refers to as the fruit of the Spirit.
Paul lists nine qualities that he classes as the fruit of the Spirit.
Since the Greek word for "fruit" is singular, each one of these qualities is part of one fruit, not nine separate fruits.
Eph 5:8-10 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (9) (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), (10) finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
The fruit of the Spirit is evidence that we are children of light growing in our knowledge and understanding of what is acceptable to the Lord.
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
The most obvious answer is that if it is the fruit of the Spirit, it can only be obtained by yielding to the Holy Spirit.
John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
In order to bear fruit, Christians must see themselves as branches of a vine, and abide in the vine - that vine is Jesus Christ Himself.
Love is agape love and the best description of the word is in 1 Cor 13:4-7.
Joy is not mere happiness, but the product of true Kingdom living (Rom 14:17).
Peace is a tranquillity of heart that stems not from a lack of problems and trials, but from the exercise of faith in committing our anxieties to the Lord and trusting that He will take care of us (Phil 4:6-7).
Longsuffering refers to the prolonged restraint of anger and is an essential quality in our dealings with others.
Kindness has also been translated as "sweetness" and is very closely associated with goodness.
Goodness means virtue.
Faithfulness is also translated as faith (see 2 Cor 5:7), but can also refer to trustworthiness.
Gentleness is a difficult word to translate but usually means being considerate.
Self-control means self-mastery and refers to a person's ability to keep control of his own desires.
If you like these Topical Bible Studies, don't forget to check out our Expository Bible Studies too.