22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22 ESV
Here we have nine beautiful graces which should portray our attitude to God, to other people, and to ourselves.
I find it helpful for myself to organize these nine graces in to three separate categories. The first category would include love, joy, and peace. This is a triad of virtues that primarily concern our attitude towards God. Our first love should be our love for God, our chief joy should be our joy in God, and our deepest peace should be our peace with God.
The second category would include patience, kindness, and goodness. This is a triad of virtues that primarily concern our attitude towards others. Patience is long-suffering which we should possess towards those who persecute us, kindness should be our overall disposition, and goodness should define our words and deeds.
And the third category would include faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is a triad of virtues that primarily concern our personal state of being. Faithfulness should define the reliability of a Christian individual, gentleness is the humble meekness that Christ exhibited which we should all possess, and both of these are aspects of self-mastery or self-control.
So the primary direction of love, joy, and peace is upward towards our God. The primary direction of patience, kindness, and goodness is outward towards our fellow man. And the primary direction of faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control is inward towards our own selves.
Perhaps my favorite little line in this passage is where Paul says that, “against such things there is no law”. This is because the function of the law is to curb, restrain, and deter. But when it comes to a life filled with the fruit of the Spirit no deterrent is ever needed.
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