This guest post is by Jeffrey Kranz, who writes more Bible-study material at OverviewBible.com.
We’re going through the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–23), a list of qualities the Holy Spirit produces in our lives. You can find plenty of books on the fruit of the Spirit, but in these posts I’m focusing on two things:
- What each fruit of the Spirit quality means
- A Bible character that sets a good example of that quality
Fruit of the Spirit: faithfulness
The fruit of the Spirit includes faithfulness. It means sincerity and trustworthiness, and one story of David gives us a good illustration.
Example of faithfulness: David
Back in the old days, God has anointed two men king of Israel: Saul is first, and David is divinely lined up to replace him. As you might imagine, Saul isn’t a big fan of David. In fact, he wants David dead. So Saul gathers up his troops and hunts the young man across the countryside.
David catches Saul and his army off guard one night, though. He sneaks into Saul’s camp and sees Saul sleeping. All his guards are asleep, too.
And instead of killing his enemy and sneaking away (which could have put an end to the hunt), David takes the king’s spear and leaves.
The next morning, David shows Saul the spear that he took the night before, and explains why he didn’t kill Saul:
“The LORD will repay each man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the LORD delivered you into my hand today, but I refused to stretch out my hand against the LORD’S anointed.” (1Sa 26:23)
David was faithful: he backed the man God made king, even when it wasn’t the easy thing to do.
What about us? Are we faithful to God when it’s not easy? Are we true to our words?
Through the Holy Spirit, we can be.
Fruit of the Spirit: gentleness
The Greek work for “gentleness” in this list is about more than just going easy on people. The gentleness of the Spirit is more about how our humility before God manifests itself to other people.
A gentle person has great respect for God, and therefore great respect for others.
Example of gentleness: Jeremiah
This man has it rough. He and Job would have a lot to talk about. God sends Jeremiah messages for the people, but they continue to mistreat him—and even try to kill him off.
But Jeremiah keeps at it, “like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter” (Jer 11:19). He fears God, not men; therefore, he continues to share God’s word with the people.
Fruit of the Spirit: self-control
Self-control is the opposite of excess and indulgence. The self-controlled person puts principle before pleasure.
Example of self-control: Daniel
The prophet Daniel shows self-control throughout his book.
- When Daniel is taken captive to Babylon, he refuses to indulge in the king’s finest food (which didn’t meet the Levitical food standards). Instead, he plays it safe and eats vegetables.
- When it becomes illegal to pray to anyone but the king, Daniel continues to pray to God. He knows that the punishment is being thrown to the lions, but he puts God first.
- When he mourns for his people, Daniel abstains from rich food, meat, wine, and ointment.
Daniel denies himself to put God and others first.
And we should do the same.
These examples of the fruit of the Spirit are just scratching the surface
That brings this series to a close. Of course, there are many more examples of the fruit of the Spirit in Scripture.
The folks I’ve listed are all fallible people. We have plenty of documented screw-ups for some of the heroes on this list. They’re not perfect, but they set a few examples for us when it comes to these qualities.
What do you think? Which people do you know who have exemplified the fruit of the Spirit for you?
This might be a good opportunity to give a shout-out to your pastor or mentor in the Faith. Share this (or one of the other articles) with them and let them know what an encouragement they’ve been.