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Fruit of the Spirit

The "Tree of Life"

In the Bible, a tree is often used figuratively to represent a being, as shown in Isa.55:12 "all the trees of the field shall clap their hands" (literal trees do not do this!). The tree of life is symbolic of God (who is a being), who "giveth to all life, and breath, and all things" (Act.17:25). God gives us eternal life by His words. If Adam had not sinned he would have eaten of the tree of life (God's words and spirit) and lived forever (Gen.3:22). God sent Jesus with these same words of etenal life to feed the people (Joh.6:63,68). If we overcome evil in our own minds, we can eat of those words sent of God (Rev.2:7). As children of God, we can be trees of righteousness, good trees bringing forth good fruit (Mat.7:15), trees of life (1Co.14:25) If we learn God's words with His understanding and apply them, we become a son or daughter of God (1Pt.1:23; 2Co.6:16-18).

Pro.3:18 She (wisdom) is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

Rev.22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Rev.2:7 To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Rom.1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made

The "things that are made," like fruit-bearing trees for example, were made because they are beautiful and provide us food. However, God also made them so His invisible things (like His spirit) could be "clearly seen" and "understood."

Jesus said "Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Mat.7:15-20) in reference to prophets. The kind of spiritual fruit we bear determines what kind of prophet we are, just as a tree can be discerned by the fruit it bears.

We can be a "tree" bearing good "fruit" as in Psa.1:3

Psa.1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

This article describes different fruits or portions of God's holy spirit (Gal.5:22,23). God himself is made up of these fruits of the spirit, and they also exist in us in a beginning depth when we are born. However, as we grow up, evil thoughts and feelings enter our mind, pervert the spirit we are born with, and keep us from growing spiritually. When we begin to seek God, God will teach us how to overcome and cast out all wrong thoughts and feelings. As we do this, God wants us to pray to receive the different fruits of his spirit to replace the thoughts we are casting out (Eph.4:22-32; Col.3:5-16). Below are the fruits of the spirit God wants to give us, with descriptions of what each is for, and how they can help us overcome evil. We need:

Faith: To believe deeply in the things of God. We need faith to mix with everything God gives, so these things will grow in us (Heb.11:1).

Peace: To have a sure, settled feeling of calm (Isa.26:3; Ph'p.4:7). We need peace to fight fear, worry, pressure, and anger. Peace helps us control evil thoughts so we don't speak them out, and helps us slow down evil thoughts when they are racing through our mind.

Mercy: To be tolerant and forgiving of ourselves and others when things are done wrong or mistakes are made. We need mercy to prevent us from judging and feeling self-righteous, hateful, and condemning toward ourselves or others (Luk.6:36,37).

Joy: To be able to laugh at what is truly funny, with God's sense of humor. Joy strengthens us by helping break the power of stress, pressure, and anger. It helps us find relief from heavy-hearted, down-in-the-mouth thoughts and feelings that take things too seriously (Neh.8:10).

Kindness: To be courteous and considerate, to think of others' feelings and needs (Ph'p.2:3,4). We need kindness to fight inconsiderate, pushy, rude, and selfish thoughts and feelings.

Longsuffering: To remember that it takes time to grow, and to be tolerant of this growth process in ourselves and others (2Pt.3:9,15). We need longsuffering to fight pressure and impatience, and to help us put any long project into perspective.

Love: To love God completely, to love our own soul, and to love others (Mat.22:37-40). We need love to fight self-righteousness, hate, hurt, and fear. Once we have cast evil out of our lives, we can keep it out by having love as the motive for all we do (1Co.13:1-8,13).

Assurance: To dissolve doubts of any kind (Dan.5:12). We need assurance to fight any thoughts that make us feel inferior or afraid, and to help us preach God's words with confidence (1Th.1:5).

Gentleness: To be gentle toward ourselves and others (1Th.2:7). We need gentleness to fight harsh, judgmental, and angry thoughts.

Trust: To rely on God and on the God in other people; to build security in our relationship with God (Isa.12:2, 2Co.1:9,10). We need trust to fight worry, pressure, mistrust, and thoughts that won't let us rely on God (1Pt.5:7; 2Co.3:4,5).

Pity: To be tender-hearted; to be open or sensitive to feel emotions such as love, joy, and compassion (Eph.4:32; 1Pt.3:8). We need pity to counteract hard-hearted attitudes that do not want us to have feelings for ourselves or others.

Goodness: To be cheerful, optimistic, lighthearted, and happy. We need goodness to fight depression, pessimism, selfishness, and complaining (Pro.15:13).

Compassion: To feel for or be touched by what a soul is going through, whether it is our own soul or another soul, and to want to give what the soul needs to help it (Luk.10:33,34).

Humility: To be humble before God and others, to know that we need God, and to be subject to God's gifts (1Pt.5:5,6). We need humility to help us fight any superior thoughts or feelings.

Meekness: To be teachable or open-minded. Meekness helps us listen to and hear what another is saying to us (Psa.25:9; Jam.1:21). We need meekness to fight know-it-all thoughts, self-righteousness, and thoughts and feelings that want us to take things personally.

Discernment: To discern or understand evil thoughts and feelings in our lives-what they are, how they came into our mind, and how they work (Heb.4:12; Heb.5:14).

Boldness: To be frank or blunt about a matter. We need boldness to fight fear, shyness, and man-pleasing thoughts, and to preach God's word without fear (Ph'p.1:14; Heb.13:6).

Jealousy: To feel protective of God's word and spirit in ourselves and in others, and to want to fight any evil that would pervert the things of God (2Co.11:2).

Anger: To hate evil and be angry at evil thoughts that take our lives (Luk.14:26; Heb.1:9). We need anger to make us want to fight evil rather than agreeing with it. Anger is especially helpful against evil thoughts that seem to benefit us but are really killing us, such as manpleasing or attention thoughts.

Zeal: To be more decisive and zealous in our everyday lives, and in working for God and fighting evil (1Co.14:12; Tit.2:14). We need zeal to fight procrastination, laziness, and thoughts and feelings that make us lukewarm about the things of God (Rev.3:15,16,19).

Steadfastness: To be established, not wavering, and steady; to be solid, and stand fast in the faith (Act.2:42; 1Co.15:58). We need steadfastness to fight any thought that wants us to run away from God, and to help us stick to decisions or vows we have made.

Dedication: To renew and maintain our long-term personal commitments to God, ourselves, our families, and others.

Strength: To strengthen our spiritual body; to be more mature and responsible (Ph'p.4:13). We need strength to fight immaturity, irresponsibility, and evil thoughts that say "I can't; I'm incapable."

Might: To have an extra surge of mental power for any work we need to do, either a work for God or in our every day life (Mat.13:54; Act.18:24). Might can give us an extra surge of spiritual power to forcefully fight any evil that comes up against us (Eph.3:16; Eph.6:10,11). We need might to stand up to thoughts and feelings that repeatedly get the better of us, and to stop being passive, spineless or gutless in the face of an attack by evil thoughts.

Sobriety: To have the discipline, will-power, and self-control to do the things we need to do; to think seriously about God and the choices we make (1Pt.1:13; Tit.2:12). We need sobriety to fight undisciplined and escaping or fantasizing thoughts, and to have the will-power not to yield to whatever evil thought we are fighting.

Temperance: To be moderate or avoid extremes in our personal habits (eating, sleeping, spending money); and to be moderate in our everyday life so we have more time to devote to God (1Co.9:25; Ph'p.4:5). We need temperance to fight extremes in seeking pleasure, to fight pressure, and to counteract "all or nothing" attitudes.

Obedience: To be ready to receive God's instructions for the purpose of obeying them, and to be willing to do whatever God asks (1Pt.5:2; Isa.1:19). We need obedience to fight disobedience, and to fight any thoughts or feelings that make us unwilling to do what God asks of us or things we need to do.

Grace: To cast out evil, regenerate our mind, and give thanks to God (Rom.5:20, Eph.2:8).

Healing: To heal our spiritual body after we have cast out evil (Luk.4:18), and to heal our physical bodies (Mat.4:23). Healing takes the various fruits of the spirit we ask God for and puts them in operation to do a healing work.

Honesty: To help us be honest about things, to tell the truth about a matter, and to see when something is not right in our mind (Luk.8:15). We need honesty to fight lying, manipulating, justifying, and self-righteous evil thoughts; and to help us see that evil thoughts and feelings are not us (Rom.12:17; Heb.13:18).

Interpretation: To help us in any work that involves translating a message, such as: understanding God's symbolic language in the Bible; interpreting dreams; and in communication, to help us interpret or understand what the other person means (Dan.5:12).

Patience: To germinate or quicken God's word and spirit in our mind, so we can grow spiritually (Luk.8:15). Since evil keeps us from growing, sometimes when we pray for patience, God will stir up evil thoughts or feelings we have. This helps us find them, fight them, and make progress in our spiritual growth (Rom.5:3,4; Jam.1:2-4).

Promise: To seal or preserve the spiritual body in our mind; to grow a barrier, skin or armor, so evil thoughts and feelings cannot penetrate our mind to pervert God's word and spirit (Eph.1:13; SOS.4:12; 1Th.5:23).

Prophecy: To inspire us to prophesy, or preach and teach God's plan for the restoration of heaven and earth and the destruction of evil (2Pt.1:19; Act.2:17,18).

Utterance: To express ourselves more clearly in speaking, preaching, and writing (Eph.6:19; Col.4:3); and to express emotions. Utterance enables us to speak in tongues (Act.2:4). We need utterance if we are fighting thoughts and feelings that make us halting in our speech, shy, or unable to express ourselves.

Anointing: To enliven the lines of thought God has taught us so we can speak God's messages clearly and smoothly. We need anointing so God can witness to others through our gifts (Luk.4:16-22).

Virtue: To bring spirit from a deeper depth to a lesser depth. Virtue works in physical healings to bring God's spirit to a physical level to heal (Mar.5:28-30). We need virtue in our teaching gifts to bring ideas down to a level that a spiritually younger person can understand (1Co.9:19-22).

Truth: To bring things to remembrance, or to have a better memory; to remember ideas God has taught us so they can come alive in our mind (Joh.14:16,17,26; Joh.16:13).

Revelation: To open up or reveal truths to our mind. Revelation helps God reveal or quicken to us the ideas we have been taught (Eph.1:17; Mat.16:15-17). Revelation also helps God lead us in dealing with others on what to say to help them grow in God (2Ti.4:2).

Righteousness: To live righteously and do things right; to understand and govern our lives by God's standards of right conduct (1Co.6:9,10; Psa.15:1,2). We need righteousness to fight thoughts that tempt us to lie, cheat, steal, disrespect other's property, or "cut corners" and short-change God or others.

Understanding: To help us understand the scriptures, God's blueprint for life, and how evil works (Isa.11:2,3; Mat.13:19,23; 1Co.14:20). We need understanding to fight misunderstanding, and in communication, to help us understand what another person is saying and meaning.

Wisdom: To mix the fruits of the spirit in the right proportions to create life in our mind and in others (Pro.24:3); to help us make good decisions for our spiritual growth (Mat.7:24-27); to help us interact effectively with people (Col.4:5). We need wisdom to make us wise to the subtilty of evil, rather than being gullible and easily tricked (Mat.10:16; Pro.8:5).

Knowledge: To make all the knowledge or information we have livelier in our mind, and to help us know God's word better (). The spirit of knowledge helps organize the ideas in our mind so they are more easily accessible.

Judgment: To have common sense; to weigh or evaluate things properly so we can make better decisions (1Co.6:2,3).

Workmanship: To have cunning ability or skillfulness. We need workmanship to help us with anything that is a skill, whether it is an everyday skill, such as driving, doing math, or fixing things (Exo.31:3-5); or a spiritual skill, such as preaching, teaching, fighting evil, or growing more appreciation for God (2Ti.2:15; Heb.5:14; Jam.1:25).

Worship: To give glory to God in everything we do (Psa.29:2; Rev.7:11,12); to unselfishly preach, teach and give each other the things God has given us. We need worship to fight self-glory, selfishness, and thoughts that do not want us to exercise our spiritual gifts.

Supplications: To help us ask for and draw from God the spirit we need to get our hungers satisfied. We need supplications to make us more hungry for the things of God, to help us pray, and to help us ask questions to be more led of God (Eph.6:18; Ph'p.4:6; Heb.5:7).

Holiness: To desire to be godly, to keep our minds and lives pure (1Pt.1:15,16). Holiness makes us more aware of the holy spirit we have in our mind and makes us desire to protect it and grow it.

Instruction: To help us receive God's guidance, to work within God's order, and to lead us in teaching others. The spirit of instruction helps God direct us in the right way in our daily lives (Pro.6:23,24; Pro.19:20).