A mere intellectual understanding of the terms of the spirit are not the fruits of the spirit. They're not the same thing.
Intellectual understanding is static, while the bearing of the fruits of the spirit is dynamic.
This seems a curious claim to me. Only a mind gripped by prejudice is "static" or "stuck". Intellectual concepts, insights, appreciation, understanding, and application of those is also fluid or dynamic. I certainly agree that understanding the fruit is not the same thing as the fruit itself.
As Jim points out: "They are fluid and ever changing as we experience
our way to spirit consciousness."
Such "experience" of spirit progress/consciousness changes our concepts, insights, appreciation, understanding, and application of everything...nothing remains "static" for such a mind/person.
Again, as Jim points out: "But we do need to remember that the fruit is of the spirit and we are of the flesh. Expressing the spirit means actual involvement with spirit forces
, not merely intellectual understanding of terms."
A review of the quote offered by Panthers is referring to, IMO, the act and result of transferring the seat of our identity from the "flesh" mentioned by Jim above to the other natural nature of mortals in recognition of our dual nature - the spirit nature. When Jim says we are of the flesh, I think he means this is where we begin when we are first born of the spirit by our TA endowment: but we progress from there (if we choose to respond to Spirit) to being born again or consciously dedicated TO the Spirit within and we now have chosen this transfer of the seat of our very identity.
The quote says: "The consciousness of the spirit domination
of a human life is presently attended
by an increasing exhibition
of the characteristics of the Spirit in the life reactions of such a spirit-led mortal...."
The text is not describing either a definition or an understanding....it is describing , again as Jim points out, the "exhibition" of these fruits of the Spirit led life....they are a result, not a goal or understanding or words of definition. We are taught that growth is unconscious (as nod has pointed out before, other topic, such growth may be unconscious but not the result of growth
...I think he used finger nails as an excellent illustration of this truth).
I suppose one might aspire to emulate these fruits and attempt to be more of each of them...the old fake it till you make it kind of thing. But I doubt that true peace of mind would "attend" any such effort. Again, as Jim points out, these fruits are an expression of a spirit led life....they are not merely ideals or aspirations and are far more than any form of understanding, so I would conclude that BOTH the fruits and our understanding of the fruits are very dynamic and our appreciation of them will remain fluid accordingly as well.
One way to "see" such fruits I think, in others but especially in our own life, is to be cognizant of one's response
or reaction to situations, circumstances, disappointments, failures, confusions, doubts, conflict, confrontation, etc. For as we progress in the Spirit and bear the fruits of the Spirit by our vine attachment to the Spirit, we should experience a whole new dynamic of "response". Do we "demonstrate" more love, peace, long-suffering (patience and tolerance), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance in our responses to others and our own circumstances and situations? ....or as the text says...in our "life reactions"?
I think beyond "seeing" or defining such fruits is their expression...both the giving and the receiving of them to and from each other. Such demonstrations of the fruits are a new definition of both meaning and value to those who actually experience them. I am reminded of how profoundly the Apostles were affected (and infected) by Jesus as he expressed them as he walked by. There was nothing static about the appreciation of such personalized expressions....the fruits of the Spirit demonstrate the Spirit...the living, dynamic Spirit. Jesus was not "self" conscious in his personal, unique, and contemporaneous expressions, there was no decisions or efforts but were his every day life-reactions....and they affected others, even whole groups of others and inspired others to have, or more accurately recognize and respond to such a Spirit within themselves.
This is the power of love and the Spirit - it is transformative within and without...when we react from love and express the fruits of that reaction gained over time and by experience and wisdom in the Spirit, good things happen and do so without conscious effort or situational manipulation. We are and we become illustrative of and agents for the Divine Spirit in every reaction and every circumstance and every situation and every choice and every act....we become Of the Spirit.
Of course, it does take time and experience (read mistakes and failure and disappointment) to also become wise. Like the fruits themselves, wisdom is acquired by growth....the dynamic of intellectual understanding
as well as expression.
Thanks to all for the topic and perspective!