What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit and how do we recognise them? More importantly, how do we know that we are responding to God by seeking His loving plan for our lives? Jesus tells us that we can recognise a tree by its fruit (Matthew 15:15-19). If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then these fruits should be bubbling over in our lives and others should be able to easily recognise God working in us.
We may not always recognise it, but we need these fruits more than anything else. Every yearning we have, ever had, or will ever have is for these fruits. We may try and substitute other things hoping to find happiness in possessions or even in people but this never produces real lasting joy. Only by using the gifts of the Holy Spirit and yielding to the fruits of the Spirit will we experience true joy. The twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit are:
“For all who live by the Spirit of God are children of God” Romans 8:14
Loving God above all else and loving others as God asks us to. Even loving those we don’t like and those who may wish to harm us, by praying for them.
Not just a feeling of happiness but knowing deep within our being that God has a loving plan for our life and that we can trust Him to care for us, even in the midst of trouble or suffering.
A serenity and peace that comes from the order that God creates in us. The world makes our lives disordered and chaotic. God wants us to experience His order and peace.
Enduring inconvenience, hardship and difficulty without complaining.
Showing a concern for others in trouble or in need.
Doing what we know to be right in all circumstances and avoiding evil.
Giving freely of our time, money, gifts, talents and possessions. God is a lavish giver and we can never outdo God in generosity, but we can try to follow His example.
Being submissive and obedient to the will of God for our life and having consideration for others.
Showing moderation in speech, dress and behaviour; not using bad language or showing off.
Having control over our bodily desires so that we can focus on what is right and good for our lives e.g. being moderate in our eating and drinking; being careful about how we use the internet, not accessing unsuitable material, limiting the time we spend on social media.
Being reliable and trustworthy in all things, small and great.
Moderation and control of our sexual desire according to our state of life: married, single or celibate, young or not so young, we are all called to live chaste, pure and holy lives. If we consider what we really want in life, we will realise that we want a life filled with these fruits. They bring order, peace and tranquillity, even in the midst of trouble, sorrow and pain. A life of sin is the opposite of a Spiritfilled life and it brings misery and chaos. Sin rejects God and His desire for us to become the beautiful, holy people He created us to be. Sin rejects order and a disordered life causes us to be anxious and fearful. Let us ask God to fill us with His Holy Spirit. Then we and those we live and work with, will recognise the gifts and fruits working in our life, filling us with His love, joy and peace. Gifts which the world and all it offers can never give us.