Updated: Mar 24
Spiritual Gifts and their Spiritual Fruit
The Bible describes two types of gifts that are bestowed upon believers through the Holy Spirit: the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. Both of these are essential aspects of a our spiritual journey, and while they are distinct, they are also closely related.
The gifts of the Spirit are found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and include wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. These are supernatural abilities that are given to believers for the purpose of building up the church and glorifying God. The fruit of the Spirit, on the other hand, is found in Galatians 5:22-23 and consists of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are character traits that God develops in believers as they grow in their relationship with Him.
While the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit are distinct, they are also interrelated. It is through the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit that believers can develop the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.
For example, the gift of wisdom can lead to the fruit of patience. When we seek God's wisdom in a situation, we are more likely to be patient in waiting for His timing and His plan to unfold.
Similarly, the gift of knowledge can lead to the fruit of kindness. When we have knowledge about a person or situation, we can minister to them with greater understanding and compassion, showing kindness to those around us.
The gift of prophecy can lead to the fruit of faithfulness. When we receive a prophetic word, we are called to respond in faithfulness to what God has spoken. This can involve trusting God's timing, following His leading, and persevering through difficulties.
The gift of healing can lead to the fruit of gentleness. When we pray for healing for others, we approach the situation with gentleness and compassion. We are sensitive to the needs of the person we are praying for but also careful to give God the glory as we depend on God for the outcome and timing.
The gift of tongues can lead to the fruit of self-control. When we exercise the gift of tongues, we are also called to do so in a manner that is orderly and controlled being sensitive that our expressions encourage and build up the church body. This requires self-control and discipline, and as we grow in this area, the fruit of self-control can be extended to other areas of their lives.
These are just a few examples of how God gifts us with the tools we need to develop character and produce fruit. The reality is that the exercise of a gift of the Spirit often extends to the development of multiple character qualities understood to be fruit of the Spirit.
Jesus says to us "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matt 7:17-20)
As believers, we seek to use the gifts that God has given us for His glory. We also understand that the goal of such gifts if for the building up of the body of believers, growing character and becoming more like Christ.
It is important to note, however, that the development of the fruit of the Spirit is not solely dependent on the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit which Paul outlines to the Corinthian church. We can also develop the fruit of the Spirit through prayer, study of the Word, fellowship with other believers, and obedience to God's commands.
One last key to attaining godly fruitfulness though God's spiritual gifts is the importance of love.
Paul says, "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1Cor 13:1)
"Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love." ( 1 Cor 13:13)
In conclusion, the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit are both important aspects of our spiritual journey. While they are distinct, they are also closely related, with the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit leading to the development of the fruit of the Spirit. Our ultimate goal according to Jesus is to bear good fruit. We seek to use the gifts that God has given us for His glory as we grow in character and become more like Christ.