I would like to acknowledge the insight received from Pastor Rick Renner for these lessons on the Fruit of the Spirit found in his book, Sparkling Gems from the Greek – Volume 1.
Galatians 5:19-23 | NKJV (19) Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, (20) idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, (21) envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Notice the contrast that Paul brings out here between the “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit.”
The Greek word translated “works” here is the word “ergos” which means hard work or hard labor.
The reason Paul used this word is that the works of the flesh produce the hardest route for any individual.
On the other hand, a life dominated by the Holy Spirit is filled with benefits and blessings.
The reason Paul used the word “fruit” referring to a life dominated by the Holy Spirit is because fruit is always produced, whether plant, animal, or human, from some kind of seed.
The character of the seed determines the fruit.
The moment you received Jesus as your Savior by faith, God sowed His Spirit and Word into your heart like a seed, and you were spiritually Born again by the incorruptible seed of the Word of God. (1 Peter 1:23)
Just like apples always produce apples and oranges always produce oranges, God’s seed inside you began to immediately produce God (God-like character) on the inside of you.
The kind of seed always determines the outcome of the fruit; therefore, you should expect your life to yield the fruits of the Spirit for that is the seed God has sown in your heart.
The fruit that the Holy Spirit produces is wonderful, godly fruit, overflowing with blessings and life.
1 Thessalonians 1:6 | NKJV (6) And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,
The word “affliction” used in this verse is the Greek word thlipsis. This word is so strong that it leaves no room for misunderstanding regarding the intensity of the afflictions the Thessalonians faced.
The word thlipsis conveys the idea of a heavy-pressure situation. One scholar says it was first used to describe the specific act of tying a victim with a rope, laying him on his back, and then placing a huge boulder on top of him until his body was crushed. Paul uses this word to alert us to moments when he or others went through grueling, crushing situations that would have been unbearable, intolerable, and impossible to survive if it had not been for the help of the Holy Spirit.
One of the ways the Holy Spirit helps in these situations is to give us supernatural “joy.” However, it’s important to understand that this divine joy isn’t on the same low level of mere happiness. Happiness is based on circumstantial pleasure, merriment, hilarity, exuberance, excitement, or something that causes one to feel hopeful or to be in high spirits. These fleeting emotions of happiness, although very pleasurable at the moment, usually go just as quickly as they came. All it takes is one piece of bad news, a sour look from a fellow employee, a harsh word from a spouse, or an electric bill that is larger than what was anticipated — and that emotion of happiness can disappear right before a person’s eyes!
Joy is unaffected by outward circumstances. In fact, it usually thrives best when times are tough! It is God’s supernatural response to the devil’s attacks!
The Greek word for “joy” is chara, derived from the word charis, which is the Greek word for grace.
This is important to note, for it tells us categorically that chara (“joy”) is produced by the charis (“grace”) of God.
This means “joy” isn’t a human-based happiness that comes and goes. Rather, true “joy” is divine in origin, a fruit of the Spirit that is manifested particularly in hard times. Someone may feel happiness, merriment, hilarity, exuberance, excitement, or “high spirits,” but all of these are fleeting emotions. On the other hand, “joy” is a Spirit-given expression that flourishes best when times are strenuous, daunting, and tough!
In the example given in First Thessalonians 1:6, the Thessalonians were under great stress due to persecution; yet in the midst of it all, they continued to experience great joy. In fact, the Greek strongly implies that their supernatural joy was due to the Holy Spirit working inside them.
1 Thessalonians 1:6 | Weymouth (6) And you followed the pattern set you by us and by the Master, after you had received the Message amid severe persecution, and yet with the joy which the Holy Spirit gives,
The best that the lost world has to offer is a temporary happiness. But when the seed of God has been placed inside your human spirit, that divine seed produces a “joy” that isn’t based on outward events or circumstances. In fact, when times get very challenging, the supernatural life of God rises up inside you to defy that devilish pressure! This supernatural “joy” will sustain you in even the hardest of times!
Paul listed this supernatural “peace” in Galatians 5:22 when he wrote about the fruit of the Spirit. He said, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace.…”
The word “peace” comes from the Greek word eirene, the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word shalom, which expresses the idea of wholeness, completeness, or tranquility in the soul that is unaffected by outward circumstances or pressures. The word eirene strongly suggests the rule of order in place of chaos. When a person is dominated by eirene (“peace”), he has a calm, inner stability that results in the ability to conduct himself peacefully, even during circumstances that would normally be very nerve-racking, traumatic, or upsetting.
The Hebrew counterpart, the word shalom, indicates that this dominating peace ultimately gives rise to prosperity in one’s soul. Rather than allowing the difficulties and pressures of life to break him, a person who is possessed by eirene (“peace”) is whole, complete, orderly, stable, and poised for -blessing. soundness, health, well-being, prosperity.
The New Testament is filled with examples of this supernatural peace that the Holy Spirit produces. One classic example is found in Acts 27, when the apostle Paul found himself in a ship that was being dangerously tossed back and forth by the raging waves of the sea.
Acts 27:13-20 | NKJV (13) When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete. (14) But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon. (15) So when the ship was caught, and could not head into the wind, we let her drive. (16) And running under the shelter of an island called Clauda, we secured the skiff with difficulty. (17) When they had taken it on board, they used cables to undergird the ship; and fearing lest they should run aground on the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and so were driven. (18) And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. (19) On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. (20) Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.
Notice verse 14 says, “…There arose against it a tempestuous wind….” — which is the Greek word tuphonikos, a compound of the words tuphos and nikos. The word tuphos means typhoon, and nikos means to subdue or to conquer. Put these two words together, and it pictures a typhoon from which there is no escape. This is a storm so immense that it conquers and dominates everything in sight. Acts 27:14 tells us that this storm was called “Euroclydon” — the term professional sailors used to describe the deadly northeastern winter storms that blew across the Mediterranean Sea, causing many shipwrecks that resulted in the loss of many lives every year.
Acts 27:21-25 | NKJV (21) But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. (22) And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. (23) For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, (24) saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ (25) Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.
Paul had heard from the Lord, which caused supernatural peace to rise up on the inside of him. Therefore, he was able to be a rock in the middle of a very serious situation. His peace brought strength to everyone on that ship!
As noted earlier, this kind of “peace” is produced by the Holy Spirit. Now think back on the meaning of the word eirene (“peace”) in light of Paul’s experience on that ship. Remember, this word expresses the idea of wholeness, completeness, or tranquility in the soul that is unaffected by outward circumstances or pressures. It strongly suggests the rule of order in the place of chaos. When a person is dominated by eirene (“peace”), he has a calm, inner stability that results in the ability to conduct himself peacefully, even though circumstances normally would be very nerve-racking, traumatic, or upsetting. Isn’t this the exact quality Paul manifested that day on the ship?
Remember, the seeds for this fruit is already inside you. You just need to allow the Holy Spirit to produce this fruit in us.
So don’t think you have to give way to upsetting emotions in difficult or challenging moments. If you’ll let the Holy Spirit work in you, He will release a supernatural joy and a dominating peace from way down deep inside you. These fruits of the Spirit have the power to keep you joyful, calm, stable, and peaceful, even though you are facing circumstances that would normally push you over the edge! Why don’t you take a few minutes today to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to produce the supernatural fruits of joy and peace in you?