How do I receive these fruits of the Spirit?
“Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Just ask and then receive them from your heavenly Father, who loves you and wants to make you happy.
However, unlike the gifts of salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit which you receive in full the moment you pray for them, the fruits of the Spirit need to be nurtured. You can do this by spending more time with the Lord in prayer, reading His Word, and receiving and following His direction in your daily life. Again, it’s like a tree. When you first pray for a certain fruit of the Spirit, God plants the seed. But then it’s up to you to tend to it and help it grow, first into a seedling, then a sapling, then a full-grown, fruit-bearing tree. What quality of fruit your tree bears depends largely on the care you give it. Only God can give it life, but then He expects you to do your part: you must set it in the sunshine of His love, water it with His Word, and keep the weeds and pests away.
Are these the only fruits of the Spirit?
These are the fruits of the Spirit listed in the Bible specifically as such, but there are, of course, many other virtues the Bible instructs us to strive for, not only for the sake of our own happiness, but also in order to be a greater blessing and better example to those around us. These virtues include humility, cheerfulness, friendliness, optimism, empathy, self-sacrifice, and tolerance, to name just a few. Each of these is also the antidote to one or more bad attitudes or habits, such as pride, impatience and anger, grumpiness and moodiness, self-centeredness, selfishness, and so on.
No matter how many personal weaknesses you have or how serious and longstanding they may be, the Lord can help you improve in these areas if you will pray and do your best to follow the counsel in His Word.
(For more Bible-based counsel to help cultivate these fruits of the Spirit, overcome personal weakness, and keep growing as a Christian, see Bible Basics—Foundations of Faith and Bible Basics—Keys to Happier Living, a two-volume set of topically arranged Scriptures. Available from Aurora Production.)