But the fruit of the Spirit…
Does your life bear fruit? I am not talking about apples and pears, but rather the evidence of God. Scripture teaches us that the fruit of the Spirit must be present in your life if you confess to be a child of God. John 15:5 quotes Jesus saying, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” I wonder how much of this “fruit” can be tasted by those who spend time with you?
Have you ever thought about what this fruit might look like? What is Paul talking about when He says the “fruit of the Spirit?” Is the fruit of the Spirit attending church or feeding the poor? What about going on a mission trip or helping an elderly person around the house? While I would agree that these are all products of the fruit we are to bear, I would not say that this is the actual fruit Paul is speaking of. When we examine our lives to uncover the fruit of the Spirit we must not mistake it for works or deeds. Hebrews 9:14 says that our old self (our non-Christ like habits) are “dead works.” We used to labor in vain. Now, however, we have been made new creations in Christ. While I must work to go to church or spend time with those that need help, the fruit of the Spirit occurs naturally in my life as an apple might grow on a tree. It is by the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) that others know of your commitment to Christ. John 15:8 says, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” When those around you look at your life, they are not going to count you a Christian by the number of times you go to church each week, but by the fruit your spirit yields.
Too many Christians are unknowingly discouraging non-believers from coming to a personal relationship with Christ. Your witness as a follower of the Lord will not be evaluated by the way you work your life out. No amount of church attendances, mission trips, Christian t-shirts, or non-secular CD’s will convince your friend that he or she needs to give their life to Christ. Only the fruit of the Spirit will prove you to be a follower of Christ to those around you. I challenge you to evaluate your life in light of God’s word. Are you a positive reflection of the Spirit of God to those around you, or are you daily allowing your best friends to take one step closer to eternity in hell?
“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who profess Christ with their lips, yet walk out the door and deny it by their lifestyle. This is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” – DC Talk