Editorial — The Fruits of the Spirit

If Jesus is dwelling in our hearts (John 15:4), then all the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing. (See The Desire of Ages, 676.) But if our hearts are under the control of Satan, one or more of the seventeen works of the flesh, listed in Galatians 5:19–21, will be seen. “Those in whose hearts Christ abides will show in their lives the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness. Those who are controlled by the enemy will be filled with envy, strife, malice, and evil-surmising.” Upward Look, 210.

If any of these works of the flesh are evident in us then we are under the control of the evil one. We must pray for a genuine conversion and to be delivered from the devil’s power. Just as surely as you are converted every day, you will be fruit-bearing branches—branches full of rich clusters of fruit. And what kind of fruit? The fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, kindness, meekness, faith, temperance, and godliness. These are the clusters which grow on that tree. If everyone of us is converted, if we remain in connection with the Vine every day, we shall bear the fruits of His character. (See Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 70, 71.)

The works of the flesh are what make the home miserable: “Unless we control our words and temper, we are slaves to Satan. We are in subjection to him. He leads us captive. All jangling and unpleasant, impatient, fretful words are an offering presented to his Satanic majesty. And it is a costly offering, more costly than any sacrifice we can make for God, for it destroys the peace and happiness of whole families, destroys health, and is eventually the cause of forfeiting an eternal life of happiness. The restraint which God’s word imposes upon us is for our own interest. It increases the happiness of our families and of all around us. It refines our taste, sanctifies our judgment, and brings peace of mind, and, in the end, everlasting life.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 310.

In 1886, Ellen White wrote an article in the Review and Herald about these fruits of the Spirit. In this article are the following words of encouragement: “Any one can be just what he chooses to be. Character is not obtained by receiving an education. Character is not obtained by amassing wealth, or by gaining worldly honor. Character is not obtained by trying to have others fight the battle of life for us. It must be sought, worked for, fought for; and it requires a purpose, a will, a determination. To form a character which God will approve, requires persevering effort. It will take a continual resisting of the powers of darkness to stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel, to be approved in the day of Judgment, and have our names retained in the book of life. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering. Are you in a position where you do not possess these graces? Just as soon as any one crosses you, or offends you, does there arise in your heart a feeling of bitterness, a spirit of rebellion? If this is the spirit you have, bear in mind that you have not the spirit of Christ. It is another spirit. It is the Satan side of your character that is ruling rather than the spirit of Christ. We want a spirit of gentleness.

“We are to believe in God and His promises, and in His power to help and save us. We must believe Him; for He is well able and more than willing to help us in time of trouble, to comfort us in times of affliction and distress, and to deliver us out of all our trials and difficulties. Troubles and difficulties will come, and we must confide in God.

“Christ says: ‘I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.’ How?—By the cultivation of the graces of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith. We want the living faith that will grasp the strong arm of Jehovah. Christ said: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’

“We all need the graces of the Spirit of God in the heart. God help us to seek for this. Do not rest until you have received it. Break the chains of darkness asunder. Come where the living waters flow, and drink of salvation.” Review and Herald, December 21, 1886.