But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5: 22 and 23
Years ago a friend introduced me to a way to examine my life and ask if I am growing spiritually. The idea is that if I am keeping in step with the Spirit then there should be evidence of the fruits of the Spirit growing in my life. So for each of these nine “fruits” simply ask yourself:
Am I growing in this area?
Am I going backwards?
Am I just treading water – maintaining my place?
It helps to write them down (or print this page) and if you are growing, give yourself a little up arrow next to that fruit. If you are going backward put a little down arrow and a dash if you are just staying the same.
Is your heart more or less tender towards God?
Does expressing love for God draw you to worship?
Are you engaging in more acts of service – especially the kind where you don’t care if anyone notices?
How do you respond to people who seem unloveable?
If you were to record your conversations and attitudes through the day, how often would you catch yourself laughing, celebrating and just rejoicing in the goodness of God and the wonder of His creation?
How often would you catch yourself grumbling or complaining?
Are you more or less joyful than you were a year ago?
It may be that your circumstances are more difficult than they were a year ago – so you have to take that into consideration.
Overall, are your mind and heart more at ease and at rest in God or more troubled and anxious?
Do you find yourself relating to people in ways that promotes peace or stirs up dissention?
Is your home or office more or less peaceful than it was a year ago?
(and the word here is often translated as Patience)
If you are already working on Kindness go ahead and give yourself a down arrow here.
How do you respond when you don’t get your way?
What’s your reaction when you are forced to wait – in traffic or in a line at the grocery store?
How have you handled unanswered prayer?
Can you wait gracefully?
Are you more or less patient than you were 12 months ago?
Are you more likely to do good things for other people when you are not going to get any benefit from it?
How likely are you to show kindness to the anonymous people around you – like those who wait on tables and clean your office or school?
Are you more of less likely to affirm or encourage people now than you used to be?
(and this word could also be translated as Generosity):
What proportion of my income are you giving to God’s work?
Is it greater, less or the same than last year?
Does your heart desire to give more?
Are you giving in other ways?
Are you finding ways to use my time and talents for ministry?
What’s your reaction when someone asks to borrow your stuff or take a moment of your time?
Are you more committed today than you were 12 months ago?
Are you more dependable?
How you been better or worse at making and keeping promises?
How are you doing with procrastination?
If you are waiting to take this test later, give yourself a down arrow here.
This has to do with our attitude and style of relating to others.
Do people find you more or less approachable?
What tone of voice do you use with family, friends, co-workers, classmates, strangers?
When you have to speak a hard word to someone can you do it gently with love and a genuine concern for the person?
Are bad habits more or less troubling to you?
What about the language you use and how you speak to people?
Are you more or less likely to give into impulses that move you away from God?
Are you more or less likely to give into temptation and sin?
Now take an honest look at this list and ask yourself:
Am I bearing fruit? Is my life changing?
The expectation is that for those of us who follow Jesus is that we would be changing – bearing fruit and actually becoming more like Him year after year.
If you aren’t growing ask yourself: What steps do I need to take to keep in step with the Holy Spirit?