“The fruit of the Spirit is…”
We have been looking at what it means to be bonded with Christ – and how that enables us to bear fruit that honors God.
There are a lot of opinions about what makes us fruitful. So many times we find ourselves worried about our fruitfulness – which often leads us to try many things that we think might be pleasing to God. We end up in a place where we equate bearing fruit with our own performance (doing godly things) and attempting to measure our own fruitfulness by how well we do the things we think pleases God.
We need to just stop and remind ourselves of a very important truth. Fruit is not produced by OUR activity… Fruit is produced by Jesus – doing what Jesus does from within us.
In a very real sense, being fruitful is simply being Christlike. Or to put it another way: when people see Christ in us, we ARE being fruitful. The goal of bearing fruit is to give honor and glory to God – and that was always of prime importance to Jesus (John 17:4). It is also at the heart of bearing fruit. Jesus told us:
With this in mind, we need to ask: what does bearing fruit actually look like?
Often a picture, or an example, helps us.
Today, at work, I was noticing a couple of men. You can just tell, immediately, there is something very different about these men. They carry themselves with dignity, with confidence (not arrogant at all). They are quick with a smile or a laugh. They are serious about their tasks but don’t take themselves too seriously. They greet everyone with warmth and kindness – and are quick to offer encouragement. The thing most obvious is that they are the SAME every day. Consistent. Content. At peace. They walk with an air of joy, purpose, and grace – and display it with every person they encounter.
And when they speak, it is with words full of life and vitality and blessing.
They are a joy to be around, and others feel treasured and accepted when they are near. They are always saying things like: “May your day be blessed.” Or “Today I am so blessed.” It’s not phony… or fake… or even religious. It is just… real.
Then it occurred to me… all that these men are doing is just emanating the Presence of Jesus. Their love for Him has saturated their whole being… and it just can’t help but flow out from them. It is a real Jesus in them, bearing real fruit in their part of the world in which they live and work.
It also occurred to me that these wonderful traits emanating from these two men are simply the essence of God. They are what the Bible calls the fruit of the Spirit.
They are defined as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) They are the character qualities of God. They are the character qualities we see in Jesus. And they are the character qualities belonging to all those who are grafted into The Vine.
We are always trying to complicate things. We are always trying to work up godliness in our lives (and living with the frustration of our failed attempts). But, it is so very simple…
Fall in love with Jesus. Become enamored with Him. Be saturated with Him. And what we ARE, in Him, cannot help but naturally flow out of our lives.
Fruit is the product of being so full of Jesus’ love and grace – we just overflow to everyone around us. By this, the Father is always glorified!
Prayer Focus: God, help my heart to see that my fruitfulness depends on You… living and loving through me. Draw me into the depths of Your love, that Your love may flow out…