What is the fruit of the Spirit?
Studying through the fruit of the Spirit this week, I came across this helpful exposition by Tim Keller in his commentary on Galatians. Due to the amount of content I needed to cover this Sunday, I didn’t have time to share this in my message. However, Keller’s definitions were so helpful, I didn’t want you to miss out. Here is a slightly modified version of Keller’s reflections on the fruit of the Spirit:
LOVE. To serve a person for their good and intrinsic value, not for what the person brings you. Its opposite is fear: self-protection and abusing people. Its counterfeit is selfish affection, where you are attracted to someone and treat them well because of how they make you feel about yourself.
JOY. Delight in God for the sheer beauty and worth of who He is. Its opposite is hopelessness or despair, and its counterfeit is an elation that is based on experiencing blessings, not the Blesser, causing mood swings based on circumstances.
PEACE. A confidence and rest in the wisdom and control of God, rather than your own. It replaces anxiety and worry. Its counterfeit is indifference, apathy, not caring about something.
PATIENCE. An ability to face trouble without blowing up. Its opposite is resentment toward God and others, and its counterfeits are cynicism or lack of care: This is too small to care about.
KINDNESS. An ability to serve others practically in a way which makes me vulnerable, which comes from having a deep inner security. Opposite is envy, which leaves me unable to rejoice in another’s joy. And its counterfeit is manipulative good deeds, doing good for others so I can congratulate myself and feel I am “good enough” for others or for God.
GOODNESS. Being the same person in every situation, rather than a phony or a hypocrite. This is not the same as being always truthful but not always loving; getting things off your chest just to make yourself feel or look better.
FAITHFULNESS. To be utterly reliable and true to your word. Its opposite is to be an opportunist, a friend only in good times. And its counterfeit is to be loving but not truthful, so that you are never willing to confront or challenge.
GENTLENESS. Humility, self-forgetfulness. The opposite is to be superior or self-absorbed. Not the same as inferiority.
SELF-CONTROL. The ability to pursue the important over the urgent, rather than to be always impulsive or uncontrolled. The slightly surprising counterfeit is a willpower which is based on pride, the need to feel in control.
“Galatians for You.” Galatians for You, by Timothy Keller, The Good Book Company, 2017, pp. 153–155.