Fruit of the Holy Spirit

9 Attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit

The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit, according to chapter 5 of the Epistle to the Galatians: “But the fruit of the Spirit is:

  • Love (Greek: agape, Latin: caritas)
  • Joy (Greek: chara, Latin: gaudium)
  • Peace (Greek: eirene, Latin: pax)
  • Patience (Greek: makrothumia, Latin: longanimitas)
  • Kindness (Greek: chrestotes, Latin: benignitas)
  • Goodness (Greek: agathosune, Latin: bonitas)
  • Faithfulness (Greek: pistis, Latin: fides)
  • Gentleness (Greek: prautes, Latin: modestia)
  • Self-control (Greek: egkrateia, Latin: continentia)

Love (Agape) #

  • Agape (love) denotes an undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good for others, no matter their behavior
  • It is a love that gives freely without asking anything in return, and does not consider the worth of its object.
  • Agape is more a love by choice than philos, which is love by chance; and it refers to the will rather than the emotion. Agape describes the unconditional love God has for the world.
  • Paul describes love in 1 Corinthians 13:4–8:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

Joy #

  • The joy referred to here is deeper than mere happiness, is rooted in God and comes from Him. Since it comes from God, it is more serene and stable than worldly happiness, which is merely emotional and lasts only for a time.

Peace #

  • The word “peace” comes from the Greek word eirene, the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word shalom, which expresses the idea of wholeness, completeness, or tranquility in the soul that is unaffected by the outward circumstances or pressures. The word eirene strongly suggests the rule of order in place of chaos.[13]
  • .. of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
  • Jesus is described as the Prince of Peace, who brings peace to the hearts of those who desire it.
  • He says in John 14:27:

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. In Matthew 5:9 he says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”[15]

Patience #

  • Generally the Greek world applied this word to a man who could avenge himself but did not.
  • This word is often used in the Greek Scriptures in reference to God and God’s attitude to humans.
    Exodus 34:6 describes the Lord as “slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”
  • Patience, which in some translations is “longsuffering” or “endurance”, is defined in Strong’s by two Greek words, makrothumia and hupomone.
  • Also included in makrothumia is the ability to endure persecution and ill-treatment.
  • It describes a person who has the power to exercise revenge but instead exercises restraint.
  • It describes the capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances,
    not with a passive complacency, but with a hopeful fortitude that actively resists weariness and defeat, (Strong’s #5281) with hupomone (Greek ὑπομονή) being further understood as that which would be “as opposed to cowardice or despondency”

Kindness #

  • Kindness is acting for the good of people regardless of what they do, properly, “useable, i.e. well-fit for use
  • Kindness is goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, benevolence, kindness, affability. The word describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience. The Holy Spirit removes abrasive qualities from the character of one under His control. (emphasis added)
  • The word kindness comes from the Greek word chrestotes (khray-stot-ace), which meant to show kindness or to be friendly to others and often depicted rulers, governors, or people who were kind, mild, and benevolent to their subjects. Anyone who demonstrated this quality of chrestotes was considered to be compassionate, considerate, sympathetic, humane, kind, or gentle. The apostle Paul uses this word to depict God’s incomprehensible kindness for people who are unsaved (see Romans 11:22; Ephesians 2:7; Titus 3:4).
  • One scholar has noted that when the word chrestotes is applied to interpersonal relationships, it conveys the idea of being adaptable to others. Rather than harshly require everyone else to adapt to his own needs and desires, when chrestotes is working in a believer, he seeks to become adaptable to the needs of those who are around him.
  • Kindness is doing something and not expecting anything in return. Kindness is respect and helping others without waiting for someone to help one back. It implies kindness no matter what. We should live “in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left”.[23]

Goodness #

  • The state or quality of being good
  • Moral excellence; virtue;
  • Kindly feeling, kindness, generosity, joy in being good
  • The best part of anything; Essence; Strength;
  • General character recognized in quality or conduct.

Faithfulness #

  • The root of pistis[27] (“faith”) is peithô,[28] that is to persuade or be persuaded, which supplies the core-meaning of faith as being “divine persuasion”, received from God, and never generated by man.
  • It is defined as the following:
    • objectively, trustworthy;
    • subjectively, trustful:—believe(-ing, -r), faithful(-ly), sure, true.[29]

Gentleness #

  • Gentleness, in the Greek, prautes, commonly known as meekness, is “a divinely-balanced virtue that can only operate through faith
  • “a disposition that is even-tempered, tranquil, balanced in spirit, unpretentious, and that has the passions under control.
  • The word is best translated ‘meekness,’ not as an indication of weakness, but of power and strength under control.
  • The person who possesses this quality pardons injuries, corrects faults, and rules his own spirit well“.
  • Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted”.[Gal 6:1]
  • “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love”.[Eph 4:2]

Self-control #

  • The Greek word used in Galatians 5:23 is “egkrateia”, meaning “strong, having mastery, able to control one’s thoughts and actions.“[33]
  • We read also: “…make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love”.[2 Pet 1:5-7]

 

Memorize All 9 with a Song:

Here’s a song that will help you memorize the fruits of the spirit:

Stack Overflow: Code of Conduct

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Fred Rogers and the Loveliness of the Little Good

The power is in Rogers’s radical kindness at a time when public kindness is scarce. It’s as if the pressure of living in a time such as ours gets released in that theater as we’re reminded that, oh yes, that’s how people can be.

Moral elevation gains strength when it is scarce.

.. Mister Rogers was a lifelong Republican and an ordained Presbyterian minister. His show was an expression of the mainline Protestantism that was once the dominating morality in American life.

.. Once, as Tom Junod described in a profile for Esquire, Rogers met a 14-year-old boy whose cerebral palsy left him sometimes unable to walk or talk. Rogers asked the boy to pray for him.

The boy was thunderstruck. He had been the object of prayers many times, but nobody had asked him to pray for another. He said he would try since Mister Rogers must be close to God and if Mister Rogers liked him he must be O.K.

Junod complimented Rogers on cleverly boosting the boy’s self-esteem, but Rogers didn’t look at the situation that way at all: “Oh, heavens no, Tom! I didn’t ask him for his prayers for him; I asked for me. I asked him because I think that anyone who has gone through challenges like that must be very close to God. I asked him because I wanted his intercession.”

And here is the radicalism that infused that show: that

  • the child is closer to God than the adult;
  • that the sick are closer than the healthy;
  • that the poor are closer than the rich and
  • the marginalized closer than the celebrated.

Rogers often comforted children on the show and taught them in simple terms, but the documentary shows how he did so with a profound respect for the dignity of each child that almost rises to veneration. You see his visceral disgust for shows that don’t show respect — that dump slime on children, that try to entertain them with manic violence.

In the gospel of Fred Rogers, children are our superiors in the way

  • they trust each person they meet, the way
  • they lack guile,
  • the way a child can admit simple vulnerability.

Rogers was drawing on a long moral tradition, that the last shall be first. It wasn’t just Donald Trump who reversed that morality, though he does represent a cartoonish version of the idea that winners are better than losers, the successful are better than the weak. That morality got reversed long before Trump came on the scene, by an achievement-oriented success culture, by a culture that swung too far from humble and earnest caritas.

Rogers was singing from a song sheet now lost, a song sheet that once joined conservative evangelicals and secular progressives. The song sheet may be stacked somewhere in a drawer in the national attic, ready for reuse once again.