It is About Being Formed into Fruit
Here, then, is the place of spiritual formation in the church. The goal of the indwelling is the production of fruit that can be enjoyed by the world. This is the “so that” of the priestly prayer. The church focuses on its mutual indwelling, not so that individual souls can go to Heaven when they die, but that the whole world can taste and see that the Lord is good.
The fruit of the Spirit, as mentioned above, is articulated in Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit of the Spirit is love. Love is the singular fruit of the Spirit that is pluriform and becomes whatever is needed according to the direction it flows within a particular context. Love becomes what the other needs. Sometimes it is joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. ((Gary Simpson, “Fruit of the Spirit” in Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics, ed. Joel B. Green (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011). 319.)) This singular and pluriform nature of love is further exemplified in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. This is a description of God’s love that is the fruit of the perichoretic power of God-in-community with the Church and the World.