Updated: Feb 1, 2020
When we talk about the fruit of the Spirit, we need to keep in mind that it's not "fruits," but "Fruit" in the singular form. It's like a cluster of grapes, or an orange, a singular fruit with multiple facets. Each of these facets isn't anything that we can produce in ourselves (a wonderful video on that here). They are literally the fruit that the spirit produces. As we grow closer to God, as we submit to Him more and more fully, His Holy Spirit produces within us characteristics, or "fruit" that is similar to the Father's own: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. I pray that as we continue this study together, you and others will see the Holy Spirit producing this fruit in you! God is love. John tells us that in both his letters as well as his Gospel. John 3:16 tells us that God loves the world in this way, that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Everything God does, even in judgement, is done because of love. Some ask "How can a loving God send people to hell?" Hell isn't a place God "sends people to" based on His whims. It's where we are headed naturally. To rescue us God sent Jesus to atone for our mistakes, for those who believe in Him will live with Him forever. In light of this, even Hell is loving, for why would God force someone to live with Him in eternity who wanted nothing to do with Him in this life? No, everything God does, even His wrath, His discipline, His rebuke is all out of love.
So what does this mean for us? Simply put: if we love God, then we will seek to be like Him! We will seek to love, even if it means correcting, reproving, and rebuking: 19Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 3. We will seek to love one another, as Jesus loves us, and we will make the way of our lives about Love. Jesus said all of the law and prophets are fulfilled in "Love the Lord with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength" and "love your neighbor as yourself." We are called to love, as Jesus loves, as His Father loves. It is only through surrender to His Spirit that we might know this perfect love. When we let go of ourselves, and seek Jesus only, we will begin to love as He does. Surrender! Surrender to the love of Jesus, and be bathed in the Father's love!
1 John 4:7-21 English Standard Version (ESV)
God Is Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:20 Some manuscripts how can he