LCN Article
Fruits of God’s Holy Spirit

May / June 2024

Dexter B. Wakefield

God’s word teaches us that those in His Church are to demonstrate fruits of the Spirit. These fruits are evidence in our lives that God’s Holy Spirit produces as it transforms us inwardly, and such fruits are an important sign that Christians have the Spirit of God dwelling in them. As we enter the Pentecost season, it is a good time to think about the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives.

The Holy Spirit of God is described in His word as the power of the Most High God, who is the Father. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). God’s word also describes the Holy Spirit as the mind of God. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). A good general statement is that the Holy Spirit is the mind and power of God.

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. “But when the Helper comes, [which] I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth [that] proceeds from the Father, [it] will testify of Me” (John 15:26). That power has been given to Jesus Christ. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth’” (Matthew 28:18, KJV ). God gives the Holy Spirit to His begotten children—it begets us, identifies us, constitutes a promise, and works in us.

God’s Holy Spirit is a kind of down payment—an earnest deposit—for our transformation to come. “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:21–22). Indeed, our future birth into the God Family “seals” us for that great destiny.

A Transforming Spirit

The Holy Spirit of God—His mind and His power—is a transforming Spirit! The Apostle Paul told the Church in Philippi, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). This is so important, because when this Spirit dwells in us, it can transform our thinking and wills to be like God’s—if we will submit ourselves to Him. Paul instructed the Church in Rome, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1–2).

A person’s will is the power to choose. And each of us—prior to conversion—chose in accordance with our carnal natures and the ways of the world that we live in. But, at some point, God grants us repentance, and we must choose to obey Him. Obedience to God means subordinating our human wills to God’s perfect, righteous will.

When a little girl is told to clean up her room—and she does not want to—it is necessary for her to subordinate her will to her mother’s instruction in order to obey. But when she becomes an adult, she likely keeps her home just as neat as her mother did—because she chooses to have a neat, clean place in which to live. Her will in the matter has changed.

Similarly, God’s Spirit leads us through our trials and choices. Initially, we are just being obedient to God in keeping His commandments. But by constantly leading us to choose as He does, God’s Spirit transforms our wills to become like His. That process is called conversion. To the extent that we are converted and transformed inwardly, we want to choose as God does. And we are to yield to God’s will, as His Spirit leads us to obey, to love God, and to want to be like Him. Our righteous choices reveal themselves as fruits in our lives—fruits of God’s Holy Spirit working in us.

Some of the Fruits

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering [patient endurance], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). God is love, and His mind is joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, desirous to do good things and always faithful. Do we show these characteristics—these fruits—in our daily actions? Are we like our heavenly Father and Elder Brother in these things?

God’s Spirit illuminates the right path for us. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8–10). Doing God’s will—willingly and from the heart—is always acceptable to Him.

God’s Spirit is essential to our calling and conversion. Jesus promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would work first with us to open our minds to His truth—and then in us to change us. Prior to His disciples’ conversion at Pentecost, Jesus told them, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever”—referring to the Holy Spirit, which “dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:15–17).

God Grants Repentance

Repentance is something that God grants us; “they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life’” (Acts 11:18). Sadly, not everyone chooses to accept what God grants. However, when they do, it is made clear by fruits. Early in our conversion, God’s Spirit works with us and leads us to true repentance—which brings changes in how we live. “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8). After repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, we receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands. “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6).

After the laying on of hands, the Holy Spirit dwells in us. “That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit [which] dwells in us” (2 Timothy 1:14). This Spirit and its fruits are the evidence that Christ lives in us and that we are living our lives in Him. “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit... He has given us” (1 John 3:24).

This transformative Spirit changes how we think and how we see the world around us. “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:2). How often have those who are being called into God’s Church said, “I understand the Bible for the first time!” But they soon find that others do not seem to be able to understand it as they do. God’s Holy Spirit first works with us and then in us, and it works this miracle of spiritual understanding and knowledge in all those He calls and converts. This is a miracle in the lives of all of God’s people.

The fruit of God’s Spirit in a true Christian produces a sound mind. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). God’s Spirit instills a special kind of wisdom and thinking. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17–18). Even in trying, difficult times, stirring up God’s Spirit produces the fruit of a peaceful mind.

The Apostle Paul gave the Church great encouragement for times of trial through God’s Spirit. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:16–17).

The Spirit of Revelation and of Prophecy

The Apostle Paul urged all of God’s people to use His Spirit for spiritual vision and the revealing of things that others cannot see. “‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:9–10). The carnal man only understands the things of this world, but the Spirit reveals things that are otherwise invisible.

The Spirit that God gives is very different from that which is naturally in a man—and it produces very different fruits. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit... from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God…. For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:12–16).

God’s Spirit dwells in Christ’s “little flock,” and transforms God’s begotten children inwardly. This transformation is evidenced by fruits of the Spirit. The Church is only a little flock, because God is not calling the rest of the world now—but He will in the future. A small harvest occurs in the spring before the great harvest in the fall. The Feast of Firstfruits—Pentecost—points us to the time when God will pour out “a pure river of water of life” for the whole world (Revelation 22:1, 17).