The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Gal 5:22-23).
‘Tis God himself the ground prepares,
His Spirit sows the land;
And every pleasant fruit it bears,
Is nurtur’d by his hand.
I have often called the fruit of the Spirit the characteristics of God. These are not only what he portrays, but, in essence, who he is. That we are to strive to become like him is a Biblical principle. To become like him, then, we must be in the daily process of developing the fruit of the Spirit in ourselves.
It is within this realm God wants us to live. A life so filled with the Spirit, and a developed, fruitful life that, as we go from day to day, others see more of God and less of us.
Knowing that fruit is not developed overnight, that it is not a process of minimum brevity, God sees the imperfection in us, but continues to help us in the developmental process, since it, once begun, is a lifelong project.
One has but to read Romans 7 to see the consternation in Paul as he depicted the struggle between the carnal and sinful nature. However, the more we have the fruit of the Spirit developed within, the less of a struggle it becomes. The more the fruit of the Spirit becomes imbedded, we have more of a desire to mind the things of the Spirit rather than the things of the flesh (Rom 8:5).
Some would argue that the John 15:16 refers only to fruit plucked, as in converting souls. I concede to that, however, Gal 5:22 uses the same word when referring to the fruit of the Spirit. So, is it too much of a stretch to interpret “go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16) in the sense that we are to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit, and that fruit remain? In fact, the Bible further declares that “by their fruits ye shall know them” (Mat 7:16, 20). I believe that is a strong reference to the fruit of the Spirit. In the sense of judging, we are told not to, but the preceding verse definitely gives us leave to be careful “Fruit Inspectors.”
Is someone inspecting you? How is your life measuring up? You may not be where God wants you to be, but trust him to bring about development in your life, that when people inspect your fruit, they see more and more the characteristics of God.