Christian church people often talk about gifts of the spirit.  The gifts of the spirit are not all listed in one place, implying that there was never an attempt to list all of the gifts of the spirit that are possible.  One consistent idea mentioned whenever Paul or Peter talk about gifts of the spirit is that they are to be used for the common good.

When Paul talks about spiritual traits that are in each individual, he shifts analogies.  He talks about fruit of the spirit.  This is in contrast to works of the law.  It also differs from gifts.  It seems to me that the fruit analogy is to tell us that this is internal development, not external influence.  When we talk about fruit of the spirit we are talking about traits that are unfolding within us.  We don’t wait for this fruit to be given from the outside.

Personally, I really like the fruit analogy simply because it uses a living thing that speaks of vitality.  When I think of fruit I think of health and sweetness.  A plant can keep producing and “giving away” its fruit for most of its life.  Hopefully the quality of our spirits make others think the same things.

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