I love the fruit of the spirit. In the Bible, we are given a list of characteristics that the Holy Spirit is supposed to produce in us. These characteristics are the Fruit of the Spirit. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
I love this part of the Bible because it gives me a clear goal for what I should be working towards as a follower of Christ. I should be living in such a way, and inviting the Holy Spirit into my life on a daily basis, so that these traits are visible in my life.
But sometimes, I think it’s easy to see a list like this and think that it seems too unattainable. I’ll never be a person who embodies all of these traits all of the time. It can be somewhat discouraging.
One thing I like to do to combat that is to look at the opposites of these words. When I frame it in this way, as a list of things I should avoid being and doing, it can actually make it easier to pursue these traits in my life. For example, instead of thinking “I need to love everyone,” I can think “I need to turn away from hate.” It feels so much more attainable when I think of it in that way.
Fight against hate and apathy.
Say no to despair and discontent.
Reject fear and anxiety.
Don’t be easily provoked, or impatient.
Refuse to be rude or inconsiderate.
Be an enemy of evil behavior and cruelty.
Avoid harshness and violence.
Despise disloyalty. Don’t give up.
Choose not to be impulsive. Do battle against addiction, rage, and laziness.
While opposites don’t convey the complete mission we are given with these Fruits of the Spirit, they are a solid place to start. These are the things I am working toward today, with God’s spirit working in me.