But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)
These fruits seem to me to fall into three categories as they relate to our relationships. For example, love, joy and peace are truly interior to us. They are part of who we are. Despite any circumstance, we can choose to be loving, joyful and peaceable. These attitudes determine our outward actions at all times.
The next three, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, seem to be our actions toward others. Being patient, gentle and good to others are the mark of the mature Christian. There is no room here for loud voices, argument, and violence.
The last three, faith, meekness, temperance, seem to stem from our relationship with God. Faith is a gift of God’s grace. Meekness, also known as humility, stems from our understanding of our worth in the eyes of God. Temperance is the result of our knowing that God is in control of circumstances and that we are not in control, therefore excessive responses are not only unnecessary, but also counter productive.
With this picture as our goal, we can only grow in faith and grace.
Help us to grow in these areas. Grant that we may always be loving, joyful and peaceable. Help us to be longsuffering, gentle and good. Give us a measure of faith, meekness and temperance.
In Jesus’ most precious name.