Galatians 5:22-26 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
My application Bible said a very reassuring thing about this passage. It said if you desire to have the qualities listed here, then you know the Holy Spirit is leading you.
I find this reassuring because so often people judge a person by their actions: that person’s not kind – he must not be a Christian.
CS Lewis wrote in “Mere Christianity” that sometimes people have something in their personality or in the way they were brought up that makes it nearly impossible to act a certain way and that even a small act of kindness on their part will speak volumes to God. If you live each day controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit then the words of Christ will be in your mind, the love of Christ will be behind your actions and the power of Christ will help you control your selfish desires.
The character traits listed here are found in the very nature of Christ. We can’t get these things on our own even though we try. They are gifts of the spirit.
And that’s a hard idea to take in. There are hundreds of books, thousands of magazine articles that tell us how to get peace, how to have joy and we read them and we try, but the Bible tells us these are things the Holy Spirit gives us.
He must be in us, we must know Him and we must love Him and we must imitate Him. We must daily commit our sinful tendencies to God’s control. And moment by moment draw on the Spirit’s power to overcome them.