Fruit of the Spirit! “Wow,” I thought to my self, “What fruit do people see produced from me?” My mind wondered to all the “yucky” responses I had over the years of situations and circumstances beyond my control. Times when I spoke my mind in a harsh tone or when I felt the need to let someone know they hurt me by ignoring them or say edgy words to them. Those reactions didn’t produce “life” but only “death!”
How does the Fruit of the Spirit get developed in us? Many times the Fruit of the Spirit was only produced after God corrected me and showed me how I walked in my flesh instead of His Spirit.
Hebrews 12:11 Amplified Bible
“For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness – in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].”
OUCH! How can the Fruit of the Spirit be so painful? So I thought! Reality is; we all have more “flesh” in us then the Spirit. Our flesh produces fruit as well. Good or bad, we produce fruit.
What fruit are you producing?
What fruit are you producing? Fruit that looks good but is bad? Fruit that is immature, or fruit that is good?
I love plums. When plums are in season they are so sweet, juicy, and delicious. One day I went to the store to do some grocery shopping. I went to the fruit section and saw these beautiful, plump, deep purple plums. I thought to myself, “They look so good, they have to be delicious!” So I purchased a whole bag of them. When I got home, I was so excited to eat lunch and have one of those good looking plums. But when I bit into one of them it was bitter, hard, and dry. I was extremely disappointed. Thinking and expecting a juicy sweet bite and only got a bitter dry mouth. I quickly went to my sink and spit it out and threw the entire bag of plums away.
Fruit that looks good, but in reality is very bad! Is that you? God lovingly showed me that that bitter plum was my fruit, and how He wanted to help me be the producer of good fruit.
It is easier to be selfish, which is the flesh, and think we are producing good fruit. We get all dressed up on Sundays and put on our best faces, but inside we are miserable or ugly. We can get caught up in what people think of us more then what God thinks of us. This will only produce good looking bad fruit.
People will come and “pick” your fruit. Again, what fruit are you producing? Maybe you are producing immature (not ripe) fruit. This is thinking you are a wonderful person when in reality you walk immaturely in Christ and expect others to like your fruit.
Immature fruit is walking around ignoring issues in your life and expecting good results. It is thinking everyone else is wrong and you are right. I know because I have walked down that immature, unfruitful road many times in my life. God would be working on me and I would allow Him a little of my heart thinking that was enough. Then I would try and minister to others not knowing my fruit was just in the infant stages. This can bring bitterness and resentment in others.
We can really do a world of hurt for others if we don’t take care of any issues in our own life. Issues like; pride, complaining, gossip, un-forgiveness, and so much more, if not dealt with, will produce bitter, unripe, even toxic fruit.
Rick Warren states in Purpose Driven Life:
“There are no short cuts to maturity. It takes years for us to grow to adulthood, and it takes a full season for fruit to mature and ripen. The same is true for the fruit of the Spirit. The development of Christlike character cannot be rushed. Spiritual growth, like physical growth, takes time. When you try to ripen fruit quickly, it loses its flavor. In America, tomatoes are usually picked unripened so they won’t bruise during shipping to the stores. Then, before they are sold, these green tomatoes are sprayed with CO2 gas to turn them red instantly. Gassed tomatoes are edible, but they are no match to the flavor of a vine-ripened tomato that is allowed to mature slowly.” Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 217.
If you want to live like Christ, and have given your heart to Him, there will be times of correction and rebuking. If you are like me, you know in your “knower” that you need to be corrected so that you produce the fruit of the spirit and not the works of the flesh.
God chose us before we were even born. He had a purpose for our lives and that is to bear good fruit.
John 15:16 NASB
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”
Jesus taught His disciples that fruitfulness was His purpose for them. The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Christ produced by the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life.
The Scriptures clearly teach that we cannot hope to develop godly character without the work of the Holy Spirit in our life. Paul write about contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit:
Gal. 5:19 – 21
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
A Self-centered life manifests the works of the flesh, while a Christ-centered life manifests the fruit of the Spirit.
Paul continues in Galatians:
Gal. 5:22 – 25 NLT
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
The flesh can produce nothing but evil works, while the Holy Spirit produces Christ-life fruit. The former requires self-effort and results in death, and produces dead things, while the latter requires obedience to the Holy Spirit and produces life and peace.
Dying to our flesh always produces good fruit. We have to die to live. John the Baptist stated:
John 3:30 HCSB
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
The Contemporary English Versions states this verse:
“Jesus must become more important, while I become less important.”
This is talking about releasing our desires and needs, actually dying to them, for what Christ wants.
It is not easy dying to our flesh. It doesn’t come natural, and their will be pain involved when we do. We have to surrender and allow God to give us a new heart.
Ezekiel 11:19 Amplified Bible
“ And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God],”
Do you want God to live in you? This is what happens when we crucify our flesh (Gal. 2:20). When we ask Christ to come into our hearts as Lord and Savior, we are asking Him to come and live, dwell in, and abide in us. We all need this! If you have done this, you can no longer practice or walk in sin. What I mean is that we have to STOP living in and participating in things that don’t please God.
1 John 3:9 – 10 The Message
“People conceived and brought into life by God don’t make a practice of sin. How could they? God’s seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin. Here’s how you tell the difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children: The one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God, nor is the one who won’t love brother or sister. A simple test.”
Do you practice sin or righteous ways? God has given us a “blue-print” of how we should live in the form of the Bible. This is His love-letter to us. Not rules and regulations to make our life miserable, but guidelines to make us fruitful and live an abundant life!
Be a Fruit Inspector, first in your own life, then in others. What fruit are you producing? Take a look around you and see if there is destruction, strife, chaos, hatred, lack of self-control, anger, un-faithfulness, lack of patience, meanness, and so much more bad fruit.
Surrender means pain before pleasure. Surrendering is dying to your fleshly desires. Anytime you get your way by acting ungodly, you have really lost. Oh we might win an argument or get to have our own way, but stepping back and looking at the bigger picture, you have lost. Remember, whenever flesh wins, we lose. When the Spirit wins, we win and produce good fruit.
Are you going to keep your flesh happy, but have no peace or die to your flesh, experience some pain, but then receive an abundant reward of peace, goodness, joy, and love? Really, the choice is yours.
In the natural, good fruit brings life to those who eat it, bad fruit only brings death. This is the same for our spiritual life. Giving God our whole heart and yielding to His correction brings forth good fruit always. But, if we put our time and energy into dead, worthless things, we will produce death.
We avoid “death traps” in the natural. Often in our spiritual lives we tend to run to them. Examples of Death Traps can be; Un-forgiveness, bitterness, harboring an offense, selfishness, self-pity, laziness, complaining, feeling superior to others, and the list goes on.
Death traps do not produce good fruit. They don’t produce life of any kind, only death. It is time to bury the dead things and move on with God. Quickly get rid of anything, or anyone that might be bringing death to you.
If you have people in your life who are always bringing you down, or producing dead fruit, it is time to walk away. But remember, if they are bringing you down, it might be due to your immature fruit of being offended over something they never meant to hurt you with. See how you need to mature and have a better perspective on life and people? See how important it is to die to your flesh and walk in God’s spirit? We can lead ourselves astray thinking others are death traps, when in reality we are the ones who need to change.
Inspect the fruit of others when you are not sure if they are someone you should have in your life. If they are producing good fruit, then relax and enjoy the fruit they are producing. If they produce bad fruit, if they constantly have a wake behind them of destruction, selfishness, and pain, it is a sign to walk away. Not in anger or resentment, but in wisdom and peace knowing God is with you, and pray their hearts soften to allow God to work in their life. The devil came to still, kill, and destroy. This is his fruit. This can also help us when we inspect the fruit of others.
Everyone bears fruit. I want to be fruitful and produce good fruit, the Fruit of the Spirit. What does it mean to be fruitful? One definition of it is the word “fertile.” Of course, the word fertile has several meanings. If a woman is fertile, that means that she has the ability to conceive and give birth to a child. If a piece of land is fertile, that means it has the power to bring forth something that can be harvested to meet the needs of human beings. If your life is bringing forth anything that can be harvested to meet the needs of others when they pluck that fruit, then your life is fruitful, just as God intended it to be.
You and I are the fruit bearers of the kingdom of God. Everyday our life should bear some kind of fruit. What fruit are you bearing?
For the month of May and June, 2013, we will be looking at the different Fruit of the Spirit and how to bear good fruit.
God has made available to us the means for leading an effective, and fulfilling, powerful, rewarding, and fruitful life. Let us be fertile soil, pliable in God’s hands, to produce good fruit, not only for our own life, but for those we come in contact with.
Be looking for more on the “Fruit Of The Spirit” in the coming weeks. The first fruit we will be looking at is “Love.”
From one Fruit bearer to another,
Pastor Kris Belfils