Fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)

Article / Produced by TOW Project

The Spirit of God is not, however, simply a divine naysayer who keeps us out of trouble. Rather, the Spirit at work in believers produces new attitudes and actions. In agriculture, fruit is a delicious result of long-term growth and cultivation. The metaphor, “fruit of the Spirit,” signals that God cares about who we are growing to become rather than only what we are doing today. We are to cultivate “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23) over the course of a lifetime. We have no reason to believe that they are meant only for relationships among Christians in church and family. On the contrary, just as we are to be guided by the Spirit in every facet of life, so we are to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit wherever we are, including the places in which we work. Patience in the workplace, for example, does not refer to indecisiveness or failure to act urgently in business matters. Instead, it means a freedom from the anxiety that would tempt us to act before the time is ripe: firing a subordinate in a fit of anger, berating a colleague before hearing an explanation, demanding a response before a student has time to consider, or cutting a customer’s hair before being completely sure what kind of style she wants. If the fruits of the Spirit seem to have little to do with work, perhaps we have narrowed our imagination of what the fruits really are.