If you have been in the church as long as I have, you know what the fruit of the Spirit is. I am sure you have it done by memory in the correct order which is easier than to remember the order of the minor prophets in the Old Testament. We find in the fruit of the Spirit in the book of Galatians, which says:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
The context to this passage starts in Galatians 5:13, where it says we should not use the freedom we have in Christ to indulge the flesh. The Bible tells us that we ought to walk in the Spirit and not the desires of our flesh. The flesh is the term used in reference to our sinful nature. Paul writes that the desire of the flesh and Spirit are always in a constant fight. The flesh wants us to disobey God while the Spirit, whom each believe has received upon the moment of conversion, guides us to follow God.
The Bible says, the works of the flesh are "evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these" (Galatians 5:19-21). Paul listed the fruit of the Spirit following this passage which are polar opposites of the desires of the flesh.
My simple definition of the fruit of the Spirit is simply this:
The work of God through the Holy Spirit in the life of the believers that leads to holiness.
When I think of the word, "fruit," I think of the result of the work one has in a project. What is the fruit of a construction worker? A well built structure. The fruit of the Spirit is conformity to the image of Christ which brings holiness.
Notice the Bible says, "the fruit of the Spirit," not "the fruits of the Spirit." If your translation have fruits of the Spirit, you have an incorrect translation. The Greek for fruit is a singular perfect predicate. Simply put: the fruit of the Spirit is one big package the Christian receives from the Holy Spirit. This is completely different than the gifts of the Spirit mentioned in various places in the New Testament. The apostle Paul wrote:
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
The gifts of the Spirit are given to each believers as the Spirit determines, but not all have the same gifts. The fruit of the Spirit is given to each believer to be conformed to the likeness of Christ, which is what all believers are called to do (I wrote a similar post of the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit a couple of years ago).
Over the next few weeks (Lord willing), we will be looking at each fruit of the Spirit in a more theological and practical way. I am looking forward to see what the Lord will do in you and me as we study the fruit of the Spirit.