Bearing Good Fruit: Exploring the Fruits of the Holy Spirit

Bearing Good Fruit: Exploring the Fruits of the Holy Spirit

The concept of spiritual “fruit” is an important biblical principle that every Christian should understand. In Scripture, bearing fruit is ultimately about living out godly virtues that reflect the nature of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

When we place our faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells within us and begins transforming us to be more like Jesus. Part of this involves producing godly fruit in our lives – not by our effort, but by allowing the Spirit to develop His fruit through us.

What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit?

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are godly virtues that should be evident in the lives of believers as they follow Jesus. There are nine fruits listed in Galatians 5:22-23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Let’s explore what each of these fruits mean and what they look like to display in daily life:


The first and most important fruit is love. This is more than just a feeling of affection. Biblical love as modeled by Jesus is selfless, sacrificial and unconditional concern for others, even (and especially) for those who may be considered “unlovable” in the world’s eyes.

As Christians, we are called to love as Jesus loved – freely forgiving others, showing mercy, serving those in need, and putting others’ interests above our own. This kind of agape love comes from God and gives evidence that we are His disciples (John 13:35).


Though seemingly simple, joy as a fruit of the Spirit goes far beyond happiness that depends on circumstances. It is a deep abiding joy and contentment that comes from our relationship with God.

Joy is the expression of hope and confidence we have in Christ no matter what difficulties surround us. It is not pretending to be happy when we don’t feel like it, but radiating the peace and assurance that God is in control even in pain and sorrow.


The fruit of peace also transcends what the world offers. When the Holy Spirit cultivates peace in our lives, it steadies our hearts regardless of chaotic circumstances.

This Spirit-wrought peace surpasses human understanding (Philippians 4:7). It is rooted in the gospel – no longer striving to make ourselves right before God but resting in the justification we have through Christ.


Patience as a fruit of the Spirit has been defined as “long-suffering” – bearing up under challenges and persevering through trials without giving up.

It means responding with grace and endurance when people or circumstances test our limits – choosing to extend mercy rather than lash out in anger or seek revenge. As we grow in Christ-like patience, we become quicker to hear, slower to speak and slow to anger in every situation (James 1:19).


Kindness is demonstrating genuine care, compassion, and gentle affection toward others. As believers, the Holy Spirit empowers us to live with tenderhearted empathy, viewing others’ needs as more significant than our own.

Kindness expressed through small and large acts of doing good without expecting anything in return has a profound impact. Simple words and deeds marked by thoughtfulness can spread ripples of grace.


The fruit of goodness is closely tied to kindness – it refers to moral and spiritual excellence that consistently chooses right over wrong.

Goodness powered by the Spirit promotes healing and wholeness by doing what is right, true, and honorable in God’s estimation. It includes integrity and generosity exercised in the light of Biblical truth.


Faithfulness is steadfast devotion and reliability in our relationship with the Lord and others. It is living dependably through upholding our commitments to God and people – coming through on promises and sticking with others through thick and thin.

Faithfulness as a fruit flows from God’s trustworthy character. As we walk faithfully with Jesus day by day, He establishes that steadfast spirit increasingly within us.


To display gentleness means caring considerately for others while being careful about how our words and actions affect those who are vulnerable. Gentleness treads lightly, moving with humility, patience, and grace rather than pushing our agenda.

As the Spirit grows this fruit in our lives, we become approachable people who can build others up according to their needs (Ephesians 4:29) – speaking wisdom gently and giving grace to those who hear (Colossians 4:6).


The final fruit listed in Galatians 5 is self-control. This refers to our ability to rein in our desires, emotions, and behaviors and align them under God’s authority.

Rather than letting sinful impulses control us, the Spirit develops personal restraint and discipline from within. As we learn to yield more fully to Jesus, the fruit of self-control will be increasingly evident in our character.

How do we cultivate the fruits of the Spirit?

Scripture makes it clear that we cannot manufacture these fruits ourselves through sheer willpower. They are cultivated in our lives as we submit ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit through:

  • Daily prayer, worship, and studying God’s Word
  • Allowing the Spirit to renew our minds and transform us (Romans 12:2)
  • Crucifying the flesh and keeping in step with the Spirit as He guides us (Galatians 5:16-25)
  • Living by faith as beloved children of God (Galatians 3:2-3, 26)

The more we surrender control of our lives to Jesus and let the Spirit direct our steps, the more these fruits will bloom – to the glory of God.

While we have a responsibility to walk by the Spirit, Scripture assures us that God is working within us to complete the good work He’s begun (Philippians 1:6). Our job is not to grit our teeth and try to force spiritual fruit but rather to draw near to Jesus as our source of life.

As Scottish preacher Andrew Murray put it, “The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of grace, the outcome of the Spirit’s operation in our hearts.”

Why do the fruits of the Spirit matter?

Cultivating spiritual fruit is not optional for believers. Jesus Himself said that bearing good fruit is essential evidence of genuine faith in Him:

*“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:19-20)*

Producing spiritual fruit brings glory to God, benefits others, and shows that our faith is real (John 15:8, Matthew 5:16). It fulfills the purpose for which God created and redeemed us – to walk in the good works He intends for each of His children (Ephesians 2:10).

Additionally, displaying Christlike virtues through the power of the Spirit is how we come to experience abundant life in Christ. As we allow Him to produce His fruit in and through us, it transforms every area – bringing hope, meaning, joy, and purpose that overflows to bless others.

Just as an apple tree bears apples and a grape vine produces grapes, God intends that our lives as believers yield a bountiful harvest of love, joy, peace, and other beautiful Spirit-grown fruit.

What happens when we don’t bear fruit?

On the other hand, if we claim to follow Jesus but there is no spiritual fruit being cultivated in our lives, something is wrong. Barrenness betrays our profession of faith.

Those who continually resist the Spirit’s work and insist on clinging to worldly desires and behaviors will not experience lasting joy or purpose. There is no real growth happening; only stagnation and decay in the place of vibrancy.

According to John 15, branches that do not bear good fruit are “taken away” and burned. The biblical implication is that those who do not ultimately evidence genuine saving faith through spiritual fruit will face judgment, not salvation (see also Matthew 3:10; 7:16-20).

For believers, lack of fruit indicates areas where vines have been cut off from the nourishment found only in the True Vine, Jesus Christ. He is the source we must remain connected to to thrive.

Thankfully, in His mercy God often uses difficult circumstances to discipline those He loves – to “prune” unfruitful areas so that better fruit will be produced in the future (John 15:2). But we must respond rightly to His pruning work in our lives.

As children of God, may we embrace the gardening work He wants to do to clear away hindrances and become more vibrant, fruitful vines. Let’s allow Him to cultivate the beautiful, abundant harvest He desires through the power of the Spirit living within us!