Galatians 5:22-23a states, “ [T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  [Note:  When we quote Scripture in this article, we use the wording in the New King James Version of the Bible.]

Before we attempt to discuss the importance of the fruit of the Spirit, we will consider what several sources say regarding what each fruit of the Spirit involves.

Explanations of Each Fruit of the Spirit


Agape is the particular word for love which Paul used in Galatians 5:22; it means divine love, the very nature of God. . . . It is that seed of divine love which is sown in the heart of the believer the moment he becomes God’s child. . . . [It] is an all-embracing love.  In this it differs radically from ordinary human love: we humans do not love people we don’t like. . . .”  [Lehman Strauss on page 104 of his book entitled Be Filled with the Spirit]

Agape is the intelligent and purposeful love which is an act of the will more than of emotion or feeling.”  [John Rea, Th.D., on page 80 of his book entitled The Layman’s Commentary on the Holy Spirit]

“[Agape] love is focused on pleasing God, not pleasing oneself.  [This type of] love always seeks the best for the object of its love.”  [Adult Learner Guide, summer 2009, p. 47]


“Christian joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit independent of circumstances.”  [Strauss, p. 105]

“Joy is clearly different than happiness.  It is not based on circumstances, but on the presence, hope, and promises of God.”  [To Heaven and Back, by Mary C. Neal, M.D., p.93]

“[Joy] gives zest and sparkle to all of life.”  [Hershel H. Hobbs, on page 155 of his book entitled The Holy Spirit: Believer’s Guide]


“[Peace] refers to a pervasive sense of wholeness and well-being.”  [Adult Learner Guide, summer 2009, p. 47]

“[Peace is] the condition of composure and serenity even in the midst of a storm, is conditioned not upon outward circumstances but upon a faith firmly fixed in God and his will.”  [Hobbs, p. 155]

“This peace . . . consists both of inward repose . . . and of harmonious relations with others.”  [Rea, p. 80]


“[Longsuffering expresses] the idea of patience, spiritual endurance.”  [Strauss, p. 108]

“[Longsuffering includes] the patient endurance of wrongs suffered at the hand of another. . . .”  [Hobbs, p. 155]


“[Kindness refers to] gentleness, sympathy, and a spirit of concern toward others.”  [Adult Learner Guide, summer 2009, p. 47]

“[Kindness includes seeking] to do good to those who have wronged you.”  [Hobbs, p. 155]

“[Kindness is] the mark of a sweet spirit, one that is kind and mild and full of graciousness.”  [Rea, p. 81]


“[Goodness is] the quality of uprightness which extends itself to benefit others in generosity. . . .”  [Hobbs, p. 155]

“[Goodness pertains to] an active, caring generosity that desires to do for others what is useful and beneficial.”  [Adult Learner Guide, summer 2009, p. 47]


“[Faithfulness] is the quality of reliability, dependability, trustworthiness, fidelity.”  [Strauss, p. 112]

“[Faithfulness] shows itself in being a trustworthy steward of God   . . . and in being true and obedient to His word. . . .”  [Rea, p. 81]

Gentleness (or Meekness)

“[Gentleness (or Meekness) involves] courtesy and considerateness in one’s dealings with others.”  [Hobbs, p. 155]

“[Goodness (or Meekness) is] based on humility and self-denial.  It is a humble tolerance of others. . . . It is gentle and strong . . . .”  [Rea, p. 81]

Self-control (or Temperance)

“[Self-control (or Temperance) means] to take hold of, to grip, to have under control, suggesting self-restraint, self-denial, self-discipline.”  [Strauss, p. 114]

“[Self-control (or Temperance) involves] the discipline of self-restraint and mastery over one’s physical desires and passions.”  [Adult Learner Guide, summer 2009, p. 47]

Why Is It Important for Christians to Consistently Demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit in Their Life?

Because all genuine Christians are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, they are capable of demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit in their life.  And, there are two basic reasons why Christians should consistently demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in their life.  One reason is to demonstrate their love for God.  The other reason is to demonstrate their love for other people.

Demonstrating Love for God

Of all the commandments in the Bible, the most important one is to love God.  When Jesus Christ was asked what is the greatest commandment, He responded in Matthew 22:37, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  (Mark 12:30 is worded similarly.)

If we are thankful to God for all that He has done for us, we should truly love Him and genuinely desire to be obedient to the teachings of His Word (i.e., the Bible), especially if we are Christians.  Consistently demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit in the manner in which we conduct our life is a strong testimony of our love for God and our obedience to Him.

Demonstrating Love for Other People

Seven of the nine fruit of the Spirit are intended primarily for the well-being of people who are in contact with Christians who demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit.  The other two fruit – joy and peace – pertain to the personal well-being of the Christians who consistently demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit.

If we truly love other people, we should sincerely want to treat them well.  Jesus Christ states in Matthew 22:39 that the second greatest commandment is: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Mark 12:31 has similar wording.)  By consistently demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit in our life, we will be following the teaching of Jesus to love other people as much as we love ourselves.


The scriptural context for Galatians 5:22-23a implies that all Christians should seek to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in their life.  However, because of their inherent human nature, every Christian will struggle to consistently demonstrate all of the fruit of the Spirit.  Therefore, every Christian needs to constantly be aware of the importance of continually striving, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to regularly demonstrate each and every fruit of the Spirit.