The fruit of the Spirit
The bible tells us that we are to bear fruit, fruit that will last throughout all of eternity. So my question naturally was, well what is this fruit and how can I as a Christian ever hope to grow such fruit in my life?
In the book of John, Jesus speaks to his disciples and tells them that the only way to bear any good fruit is to remain in him, he tells us that God, will prune us so that we will produce a better harvest of good fruit in our lives.
Let’s take a look at the passage of Scripture.
The Vine and the Branches
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prune so that it will be even more fruitful.
3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
As you can see from the above passage of scripture the bible tells us that God is the gardener, and that he is continually pruning us to makes us more fruitful. What does that pruning look like in the life of a believer?
In my own life I have experienced this pruning on an ongoing basis, and in my life it looks like a lot of corrective course changes, from a direction that I may be wanting to go, and God sees that it is not his best for me, so he will gently show me otherwise, but the most consistent way that he has used to prune me is to change my thinking and my heart.
For instance, I used to believe a lot of incorrect things about myself, and about who God is. For instance I believed that I could never do anything with my life as I was worthless, I had nothing good to offer, God’s truth however says something completely different, he says, that I am saved by his grace, and that his Holy Spirit lives within me, which then enables me to do anything according to his will for my life.
Therefore, you can see that he had to prune away the bad thinking, and replace it with me learning to believe and think on the truth. The truth that in Christ, I can do all things, because he gives me strength.
I also believed incorrectly that if I stepped out of line and did something that did not please God, I was going to get wacked by him. The truth is that, yes, He will have to bring discipline into our lives, but He does not treat us as our sins deserve, he is merciful and mighty and full of grace towards those he loves and who love him. If God treated me as my sins deserved, He would not have had anything to do with me, and thrown me out. Never talking to me, loving me, or wanting to be in relationship with me.
Another example of pruning that the lord did in my life, that was more dramatic than the above two examples, was that when I was a teenager, I was a foul mouthed, partyer, who would consume large quantities of alcohol and could out swear most sailors.
When the lord got a hold of my life, I discovered that that life style was not God’s best for me, alcohol would enable me to have “fun” but in reality it made me do things that I would not ordinarily do when I was sober. As for my mouth, He showed me that my mouth needed an extreme mouth makeover. I discovered that the bible said that we had to put perverse speaking away from us, and that we were not to participate in it. What a mindset change.
Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Talk about pruning! The alcohol was easier to leave behind than it was to clean up my mouth and what came out of it,
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit”
You see the bible teaches us that what we say has the power of life and death, and if what we are saying is bringing death to someone, or to our situation, then we need to stop. But on the other hand if it is bringing life, then we are to use it wisely for that.
I am still being pruned in this area as the lord has been cleaning up my mouth. Thankfully he taught me a very important principle that went along with it, and that was, that what was coming out of my mouth, was in direct correlation to what I was harboring in my heart!!!
I cannot stress this concept enough, whatever I believed, thought of, and entertained in my heart is what would come out of my mouth, so if I had my heart set on evil, guess what would come out of my mouth, you are right, evil words. But as the lord changed my heart, and taught me a new way of living, by pruning out the evil that had trapped me, I was able to make better choices with what came out of my mouth.
The lord also took the time to teach me what he considered to be evil and contrary to producing good fruit in my life, Galatians is pretty clear about what the lord considers evil.
Fruitless deeds of the flesh
Galatians 5:19 – 21
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
So if those things did not bring good fruit in my life, what was good fruit after all?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
So as a believer in Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit within me, enabling me to live a God pleasing life, I can expect to produce a harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
As you can see in my previous examples I was sorely lacking in self control, I did not have any peace or joy or even gentleness when I would spew words from my mouth.
As you can see the fruits of the spirit are way more beneficial to us than any fruit of the flesh and in my experience and from what the bible teaches, the only true way to produce such fruit is through staying close to Jesus.
To me, that meant, that I would daily set aside time to seek him out, to study his word, and to pray. The more I did those things, the closer I felt to him, as he began to reveal more and more of himself to me.
My prayer for you today, is that if you have not made a special time that is just for you and the lord, that you do so soon. That you begin to ask him to prune you and produce the fruit in you that will impact people around you for his glory.
I pray that he will draw your heart closer to him in the process and one day you can look back and see the various good fruit that has been produced in your life.