But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
– Galatians 5:22-23
If I were to define the most recognizable trait of someone who walks in the Spirit, it is this: Those who walk in the Spirit act out of character.
Someone can be very unloving in nature, but when she walks in the spirit, she truly loves in an unconditional way. Someone can be of a melancholy disposition, or in a depressing situation, but he can can have joy in his heart in spite of circumstances when he walks in the Spirit. A naturally impatient person puts up uncomplainingly to delays when he walks in the Spirit. They don’t irritate him. A Spirit-led walk makes a proud person truly humble, and a skeptic a great man of faith.
The traits listed in Galatians 5:22-23 are entirely the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in us. We can’t produce them ourselves, but we can and do produce cheap imitations that can fool us and others. It’s easy to love someone who loves you. It’s easy to trust God when things are going your way. It’s when we encounter people and situations that upset us, take our joy, or build up resentments that need to realize we were only faking it. What we thought was the Spirit’s work was only our flesh in disguise.
The fruit of the Spirit is of the Spirit, and every saved believer has the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we can’t excuse our lack of these fruits in our lives by saying, “I’m not naturally that way.” Of course you’re not! But the Holy Spirit inside you is. Let Him have His way with you. Submit to Him. Let Him lead you. Walk in the Spirit.