But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Challenging Fruit. It was a little over a year ago while sitting in a seminary class that our professor issued a challenge. He had given this challenge once before, but this time he seemed to dwell on his suggestion a bit longer. He challenged us to pick one characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 and allow the Holy Spirit to do his work in us. However, there was one catch -- as we asked for the Lord's direction and His work in our lives he also suggested that we allow Him "as long as it takes" to develop that particular fruit. It seemed a bit daunting to me, but for some reason, I decided to take his suggestion.
But the fruit of the Spirit is...
Choice Fruit. Love encompasses many things. I Corinthians 13:4-8 provides an accurate picture of how love behaves. Each action, reaction, omission, acts done with intent, all hearken back to the measure of love we have in our hearts for Christ and by extension for those made in His image. The love of Christ in us is to be extended to all those made in His image -- the entire human race. We know that the love of God has been poured out into our hearts (Romans 5).
The Character of the Fruitful Life. Admittedly, love is not something that comes naturally to us. When we are the recipients of an act of injustice; whether we suffer a lack of respect, are denied a promotion, or even worse watch a loved one suffer unfair treatment by another, it is very difficult to continue to demonstrate love to the wrongdoer. At some point, we are all recipients of some type of injustice. And yet, as believers we are called to pursue love through Christ despite the injustices that occur. Do not worry; accountability is not eliminated by the love of Christ but is rather affirmed by it. Christ's love for the world despite the injustices hurled at Him by the human race did not preclude us from being held accountable for our actions. It is possible to love as Christ loved and be more conformed to His image each day as we encounter others in this life who are made in His image and may cause us harm or hurt.
The love of Christ in us should be evidenced to those around us.