In Galatians, Paul describes the “Fruit” of the Spirit of God. In Context, Paul lists these characteristics as a description of walking in the Spirit. These traits, or fruit, are produced in the believer. Fruit is produced by trees, vines and plants. It is a result of a plant that is mature and healthy. Earlier in the passage, Paul characterizes the “works” of the flesh. Here, the words “works” and “fruit” can be interchanged. Paul is speaking not just of what the Spirit of God is like, but also what the result of walking IN the Spirit of God produces in our life, particularly in our character. As we spend time with the Spirit of God, and daily walk through our lives acting out of the Spirit of God, His fruit, or works, or characteristics, are produced.
Although we can work and focus on producing these character traits in our lives, it is a difficult journey to change our own character. The phrase “pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps” has an air of the tongue-in-cheek, because pulling yourself up by something that is attached to you is a futile effort. Changing your own character through force of will is a similar feat. The Spirit of God, particularly our relationship with the Spirit of God, changes our character. In the way that we pick up phrases and mannerisms from those that are close to us, so we are able to pick up the mannerisms of God. By spending a large amount of time listening and being around someone, someone we look up to and trust, attitudes and character traits can be transferred. As we spend time with the Spirit of God, in His presence in prayer and worship, we are transformed more into His nature, and the fruit of the Spirit is produced in our life and in our character.