There are nine gifts, but one fruit of the Spirit. It’s interesting because Paul doesn’t call it nine fruits of the Spirit, but he names nine characteristics and calls them the fruit.
Compare that with the works of the flesh (plural) and the fruit of the Spirit (singular). These nine character qualities of the Holy Spirit develop at the same time.
This fruit is what He produces. In our own strength, we can work on one trait of the fruit of the Spirit at the expense of another. When we work on patience, we tend to lose sight of gentleness. Or if we get better at long-suffering, we may lose joy. That is our best work and without the Holy Spirit, it’s nothing short of the work of the flesh. I can’t work on all of the fruit of the Spirit at once. I have a hard time remembering all nine characteristics of the Spirit, and that’s why this is called the fruit of the Spirit.
It’s not the fruit of my efforts. It’s not my work. If this would come as a result of my efforts, it would be called the fruit of efforts, not the fruit of the Spirit. Fruit is not developed by striving. Trees don’t strive to produce fruit. It’s intimacy with the Holy Spirit that brings fruit. Therefore, we don’t work on our fruit; we work on our relationship with Him, and fruit comes as a result.
This may come as a shock to some but we are not called to work on our character. We are called to work on our relationship with the Holy Spirit, and He will work on our character in return.
And that’s the Memo.