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Fruit of the Spirit Explained

Fruit of the Spirit is a metaphor.

Today we are going to discuss the Fruit of the Spirit in detail and how to manifest more of God’s blessings in your life. Bible study of Galatians 5:22-23 concerning the fruit of the spirit and other related verses. This ties in with what the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden is that caused the sudden spiritual death of Adam and Eve. The truth finally revealed! And no, it’s not an apple!

We are also going to discover the common root of all conflicts regardless of the unique details and circumstances of each one. Knowing this one thing will help you understand and solve over 90% of all arguments you may ever encounter!

Fruit in the Bible

Let’s start by talking about fruit. There’s fruit in the bible right? There are dates, figs, grapes, olives and others. And fruit is used in figures of speech like as in “be fruitful and multiply” and fruit of the spirit. Fruit is referenced and talked about a lot in the bible. Why is that? Why is fruit so important? What exactly is fruit?

Fruit is the reproductive part of a plant. Most fruit bears its own seeds within itself. When planted, it grows and multiplies bearing even more fruit of the same kind. Fruit is also known as something desirable for being sweet, tasty, healthy and good for you. Fruit, when used as a figure of speech, is known as a result, an outcome or profit like “fruit of your labor” or progeny (children) like “fruit of your loins”.

The first usage of the word “Fruit” goes back to the first book of the bible in the first chapter, Genesis 1:12 “And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Notice that this happens on the 3rd day of creation. That marks it with a spiritual significance of being “complete”.

Fruit as Figure of Speech

The first time God uses fruit as a figure of speech is found 10 verses later in Genesis 1:21-22
21) “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22) And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

Notice that this happens on the 5th day of creation. That marks it with a spiritual significance of “divine grace”.  Therefore fruit is complete in itself and by grace it multiplies creating an endless loop of perpetual sustainability when it is within a perfect eco-system.  God sees this perpetual motion as good, meaning that it meets his approval, and He blesses it. That is the biblical definition of “fruit”.

The first commandment given to Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis 1:28 was to “be fruitful and multiply.” That by the way is the second usage of the word “fruit” as a figure of speech (denoting that it is established) used on the 6th day of creation because it refers to mankind. I love numbers in scripture! God’s word always fits together like a hand in a glove.

Fruit in Paradise

Originally, in Paradise before the fall, everything started out spiritually blessed and God gave mankind only 6 commandments to live by: Interesting to note there are 6 commandments as that is the number of man. Those commandments are:
(1) To be fruitful and multiply replenishing the earth (with a new order – man); (Gen 1:28)
(2) to subdue the earth to human uses; (Gen 1:28)
(3) to have dominion (control) over the animal creation; (Gen 1:28)
(4) to freely eat of herbs and fruits of every tree in the garden; (Gen 1:29)
(5) to take care of the garden; (Gen 2:15)
(6) to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil; (Gen 2:16)
Five positive commandments of grace, one singular unique negative commandment; 5+1= 6 the number of Man.

Fruit as Food, both Physical and Spiritual

Now that we know fruit is used literal and figuratively, God said man can eat fruit from every tree of the garden. Meaning, real fruit, ie. Food. And then he goes on figuratively and says in contrast to the physical food, concerning their spiritual food, do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because eating something makes it a part of you that is irreversible.

You can’t eat something and then un-eat it. Even if you throw it up right after you swallowed it, digestion already began and some of it made it into your system, integrating with your cells, becoming a part of you. It’s even worse with a thought or idea that you eat, meaning listen to and consider and make a part of your thinking.

That’s why God says to not eat of the spiritual fruit that comes from knowing good and evil. Don’t even make a small piece of it a part of you. Why? Because in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die! God did not go into any long explanations; he just plainly stated the outcome.

Did God know what He was talking about? Let’s find out…

Did Adam and Eve die? Well, they didn’t drop dead right there on the spot physically, but spiritually they died immediately. Remember the context. That verse is about spiritual food. They died spiritually. They dropped spiritually dead right there that very second. At that very moment they also lost their eternal life. And then eventually physically died about 900 years later.

When Adam & Eve “ate” the forbidden fruit, what they really did was consider the temptations and lies that Satan was telling them and made his lies part of their thinking. For maybe only a moment, they wondered and visualized what it might be like to live the lie that the serpent described.

That was the moment they lost their divine connection with God. Adam and Eve lost their innocence, became separated from God and were exiled from the Garden of Eden where they were forced to work the land under less than desirable conditions in order to survive. Things suddenly became very difficult for them.

They now know what “good” is by the loss of it through the knowledge of evil.

Works of the Flesh

What exactly is this fruit that Adam and Eve ate that killed them spiritually and completely ruined the remainder of their natural lives?

The fruit of the knowledge evil is also described as the “Works of the Flesh” i.e. human nature devoid of God. “The works of the flesh” are called “the unfruitful works of darkness” in Ephesians 5:11. In other words, “the works of the flesh” do not produce a valuable or desirable fruit. “The works of the flesh” are the evil fruit of the evil tree. They bring forth no blessings and no real benefits.

The works of the flesh are listed in Galatians 5:19-21

19) “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;

  • Adultery [one person married but having sex with someone else],
  • Fornication [having sex and not being married to each other],
  • Uncleanness [morally impure, evil, vile, unlikable],
  • Lasciviousness [indicating sexual interest or expressive of lust or lewdness],
  • 20) Idolatry [the worship of idols, excessive or blind adoration, reverence or devotion to anything other than God],
  • Witchcraft [practicing magic using demonic powers],
  • Hatred [intense dislike or hostility],
  • Variance [bitter conflict, fighting]
  • Emulations [resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage],
  • Wrath [vengeance or punishment as the consequence of experiencing fierce anger],
  • Strife [struggling together in opposition of each other],
  • Seditions [rebellious disorder],
  • Heresies [divisions in religious communities],
  • 21) Envyings [close to jealousy, a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions],
  • Murders [the intentional killing of another human being],
  • Drunkenness [intoxication, in this case alcohol but can include any mind altering drug],
  • Revellings [partying hard, indulging in loud boisterous festivities for no apparent reason],
    and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

That’s all pretty bad stuff! How does God deal with the mess that man turned himself into? At first, He does not do much. He gave man free will so He let man try to figure it out on his own hoping that things would work out.

But it didn’t work out. Remember the flood? About 100 years after Adam physically died; everyone except one righteous family got wiped out. That would be Noah. Remember the Towel of Babel? About 200 years after the flood God had to confound their language in order to separate the people and slow down their evil activities.

Fast Forward a few years…

Along comes Abram. God likes this guy and chooses him through his lineage to eventually bring our promised messiah, the Christ, our redeemer who will fix the problem and bring grace. God renames him Abraham. But the people are all messed up and in turmoil from their own works of the flesh by following their own evil earthly desires. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah? This event happens in Abraham’s time. Mankind by this point is clearly once again on the road to ruin and complete self destruction. So God steps in with a temporary solution.

Enter the Law of Moses

The Law of Moses is found in the first five books of the Old Testament, called the Torah. While the Law of Moses includes the 10 Commandments, it totals 613 commandments AKA laws called in Hebrew the Mitzvot (pronounced meets-VAH). God lays down the Law!

Now what are laws for? They are for the lawless, the unruly, the ones who don’t know right from wrong and need to be told how to behave. The Law of Moses is basically a Civil Code of Conduct. Prior to that, when people followed the flesh, meaning their own natural ways, things went very bad for them.

When Israelites followed the Law, they enjoyed much of the same benefits we all get when we follow our current laws of the land. You know… laws that are made up and voted in to effect by our legislature. When you obey federal and state laws you get to enjoy such things as personal freedom (not being in jail), you get the opportunity to work and make money, you can raise a family, you can live peacefully on your land, etc.

You get certain rights. These are the fruit of your obedience to the law. But your own personal happiness is not guaranteed in the law. Sounds much like the benefits of Old Testament Laws.

Fruit of Keeping the Law

There are many laws, but let’s only touch on a few examples of the Fruit of Keeping the Law:

Leviticus 25:18-19

18) “Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety.
19) And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety.”

1 Kings 2:3-4

3) And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper [do wisely] in all that thou doest [everything you do], and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: [everywhere you go]
4) That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.”

1) Shall dwell safely in the land
2) Will enjoy a prosperous harvest from the land and be fed, not go hungry
3) You will do wisely and prosper in your labors
4) You will always have a King on the throne in Israel, meaning your nation will stand

Now let’s flash forward about 2,000 years to our Messiah hitting the scene. Christ came to fulfill the Law and usher in a new covenant; a better one that supersedes the former laws.

Luke 24:44, 49

44) And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
49) And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.


In Hebrews 8:6-7, the Apostle Paul speaks of this new covenant that Christ made available to us:
6) “But now He [Christ] has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
7) For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.”

Hebrews 10:28-29
28) “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29) Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite [Contemptuous defiance or disregard; insult; malice, hatred] unto the Spirit of grace?”

In simple terms, this means anyone who spoke against or rejected the Law of Moses was put to death. Since this new covenant is so much better and cost so much more to enact, [Christ was brutally murdered and spilled his blood for it] then the punishment for rejecting it must be far worse than death. God is THAT serious about it!

The “apostle” Paul is saying that it is an insult to God to reject receiving the Holy Spirit through the grace covenant. Why is that? Because God has prepared for us through grace a much better deal than the law ever was!

When you accept Christ as your personal savior then you are considered born again. On this event what is planted inside you is the “Power from on High” that Christ spoke of in Luke 24:49. It is the seed of Holy Spirit; this seed, when cultivated and grown blossoms into a wonderful tree of life inside you. This tree of life and Godliness bears spiritual fruit. This fruit of grace and goodness manifests itself in the following ways shown in Gal 5:22-23.

Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness and Temperance; against such there is no law.”

Collectively, these are the characteristics or attributes that all Christians should be producing in their lives as they live according to the Holy Spirit. When these attributes show up in our lives they indicate the quality of our Christian walk.

Contrasted with the Law where you are entitled to rights when in obedience, you are guaranteed deep personal happiness and fulfillment with God’s blessings IN ADDITION TO all your rights in the law when you walk in the new covenant of Holy Spirit.

The Gift of Holy Spirit

The Gift of Holy Spirit is the tree that bears spiritual fruit in your life when you plant it in your heart, it takes root, you nurture it and it grows. It bears one fruit of the spirit, not many “fruits”. So what does this fruit of the spirit look like? Let’s look at each attribute of the fruit of the spirit a little more deeply and remember that fruit bears its own seeds within itself. When planted, it grows and multiplies bearing even more fruit of the same kind:


1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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”.


The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. Heb 12:2 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.


A state of mutual harmony between people or groups. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).


Long and patient endurance of injury, trouble, or provocation. We are “strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Colossians 1:11).


Moderate, kindly, amiable; absence of harshness or severity. 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” (2 Corinthians 6:6-7).


Moral excellence; virtue. “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power” (2 Thessalonians 1:11).


And that brings us to faith. A better translation is faithfulness, the act of being faithful. Every modern translation renders the word that the KJV translates into “faith” as “faithfulness,” “fidelity” or “good faith.” The Greek word used here is “pistis” and this word is common in secular Greek for trustworthiness. It is the characteristic of the man who is reliable.

Webster’s Dictionary defines faithful as “maintaining allegiance; constant; loyal; marked by or showing a strong sense of duty or responsibility; conscientious; accurate; reliable; exact.” When we are manifesting the fruit of the holy spirit we are appearing in the image of Christ, who is the reflection of God. Therefore these attributes are Godly.

Deuteronomy 7:9 – “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments”. And in 1 Corinthians 1:9 –“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”


Humble and patient. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Gal 6:1).


Moderation or self-restraint in action or statement; self-control. “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love” (2 Peter 1:5-7). It goes full circle all the way back to love; Perpetual motion of sustainability! Can you see how the fruit of the spirit directly contrasts the fruit of the flesh? That is why Paul says, “against such there is no law”.

Remember this:

The root of all conflict, regardless of the outward cause, is always found somewhere in the fruit of the flesh. The root of all that is good is always found in God through the Gift of Holy Spirit.

This gives great insight into people. Do you want to know the truth about what is in a person’s heart? Don’t listen to what they say, don’t watch what they do. Pay close attention to what develops around them. What kind of fruit is manifesting in their life? Is it of the Spirit or of the flesh? That will tell you the truth.

What Jesus said about Knowing People by their Fruit in Matthew 7:15-20

15) Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. [This means you can’t always trust what you see as the outward appearance]
16) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? [A more accurate translation is found in the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament: “Do they gather from thorns a bunch of grapes, or from thistles, figs?”]
17) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19) Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [Whatever is useless and evil shall be destroyed.]
20) Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Manifesting Fruit of the Spirit

Do you want to grow more Fruit of the Spirit in your life? Would you like to see those good qualities be more evident in your life? Remember in Genesis, God blesses fruit that he sees as good. Do you want to be blessed by God instead of rejected and cast into the fire?

1) It starts by being born again and then next by knowing that God is your sufficiency in all things. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

2) Keep Christ in your heart. Listen to God. Take time to listen to what God is saying to you. We walk through life with constant noise. TV, stereo, cell phones, computers. Turn off the noise and listen to God for some time each day.

3) Make sure you spend time each day in quality prayer. Not just a list of people to pray for, or begging God for special favors, but reading Scripture, and taking time to meditate on the areas in your life where you need to improve most, and talk to God about it. Begin every day by talking to God. Talk to God throughout the day too. Speak in tongues often.

4) Choose one attribute of the Fruit of the Spirit each day and focus on it; work hard with it trying to make it more evident in your life. Pray for strength and guidance in your efforts to improve yourself.

5) End your day by reflecting on the events of your day; what happened and how you reacted to it. Judge yourself by the fruit that you are producing, of the spirit and of the flesh. Be honest with yourself. Use that as your score card AND your road map toward Godliness.

Final Thoughts

How many fruit of the spirit are you showing in your daily walk with God? I know how difficult it is to take this time out and be brutally honest with yourself, reflecting on your faults. Make sure you also reflect on your victories. I struggle with all of this as much as anyone. But the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages so it is very much worth your time and effort.

If your focus is on God and you are following Christ as your leader, then your spiritual roots are growing deeper in the Lord every day. Continue growing and nurturing that spiritual tree of life inside you and soon you will see the Fruit of the Spirit developing and blossoming in your life. God will see it is good, and He will bless you for it.

Learn More: Listen to Fruit of the Spirit audio Bible Sermon

Fruit of Spirit Works of the Flesh inside Audio CD
Fruit of Spirit Works of the Flesh inside Audio CD

Available on audio CD or mp3 download! The Biblical Definition of Fruit in contrast to the Works of the Flesh and why knowing the difference is crucial to enjoying a life worth living. Program Length: 41:48.

Get Fruit of the Spirit bible teaching on audio CD or download Fruit of the Spirit mp3.