Bearing spiritual fruit is evidence of a life-giving connection to Christ.
What is this fruit Jesus is talking about? How do we produce or bear it? Galatians 5:22 (NLT) tells us:
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…”
The works or practices that come out of us without Jesus is putrid & rotten. It is our sinful nature. It is of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21 AMP describes the characteristics this way:
“Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Notice in Galatians 5:22, it says fruit of the Spirit, not fruits. I think the fruit develops together, like a cluster of juicy, sweet grapes. They are attributes of Jesus growing within us. They are in direct contrast to the workings of our flesh, the practices of the sinful nature that still lives within our earthly bodies.
When a grapevine is ready for harvest, what are the signs that we look for??? …ripe grapes. Juicy, sweet, full of flavor
What about from a Christian truly abiding in Christ? What do we look for? We should see the temper, disposition, and lifestyle mimicking Jesus. We must love and honor God, love one another, and do good; this is bearing fruit.
When we are squeezed by day-to-day events, people, and situations…what comes out?? Sweet spiritual fruit or sour grapes reflecting our sinful flesh??
As I mentioned earlier, God wants Quality fruit, Lasting fruit, Kingdom fruit. It is only produced, like anything we plant…the seed only grows, matures, and bears fruit by meeting certain conditions.
What is needed to develop & bear fruit: what does a plant need?
- Good soil or good rootstock. God has already taken care of this part. We are attached to the Perfect and True vine …Jesus. We can bear fruit wherever we live & regardless of what is happening or not happening in our lives… as long as we remain in Him.
- Don’t break the branch. Stay connected by being wholly and fully committed to Jesus the true vine.
- Water— John 7:37-38 “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
- Nourishment—John 6:48 “I am the bread of life”.
- Light—John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
- Air—The Holy Spirit flows through us and around us to aerate our lives with truth, guidance and direction. By allowing the Holy Spirit to be the breath of circulating air within us and around us. To give Him the freedom to change us, to produce Christ-like qualities within us that develop and show to the watching world, the fruit of the Spirit…and to keep it from dying or rotting on the branch.
- Pruning & supervision is Required.
- By allowing the Father, the vinedresser to lift us up or prune us as He sees fit, to understand and accept that He is in control. By knowing God that sees the whole picture and He knows & does what is best for each of His children. Weeding is required to remove unwanted foreign plants that could choke out the branch.
- God may take someone, something, or some situation out of lives that is hindering our productivity and development of mature fruit.
- God may allow storms and trials come into our lives to shape us. Where we get our nourishment will determine how we grow and what “fruit” we bear.
- God has the right to adjust our position or place in life.
- God may move us from a place of comfort and self-assurance to a place of uncertainty, so we develop a greater trust in Him.
- God may move us away from people or things that we have developed an unhealthy reliance on.
- God may move us next to other people to help us or help them share the load and journey.
As we sincerely abide in Jesus…as we stay connected…He offers us privileges that we would not naturally have any claim to. We have privileges that we can “Own” as part of our inheritance because of His sacrifice and His restoration of our relationship with God.
One of those privileges and a fruit that develops in us that I want to mention today so we can lay claim to is… His Peace. Jesus tells us Himself that He gives us His peace.
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV
He knew we would be disheartened, persecuted, and fearful. Again, He encourages His disciples right before He goes to the cross and the promise flows to us… that we may have peace in Him.
We will bear or produce much fruit. Grapes grow in a cluster. They may ripen at different times and speeds even though they are in the same cluster. Our fruit is developing through the Holy Spirit but it is up to us on the speed it develops and what is included in our cluster.
For example—Perhaps you have one or two characteristics that are ripe and ready to use. Maybe you have patience but your fruit is not mature in the area of kindness, love, and lack of self-control. When encountering a difficult situation or difficult person, you react from the flesh, speaking with hurtful words and unkind actions. Those are areas that the flesh still rules, areas you haven’t given over for the Holy Spirit to work with you on.
Patience is another fruit I would like to briefly mention. When we are patient, it puts us in control of ourselves. Being patient gives us time to choose how to respond to a given event or circumstance, rather than let rampant emotions take over. Often times impatience makes us react in damaging ways as we look for shortcuts and quick fixes.
The enemy of God’s children, Satan uses impatience & other practices of then flesh to derail us from achieving God’s purpose in our lives. We do not have to let him win. He does NOT have the power. WE DO! We have more POWER than he even dreams of WITHIN us! He is a defeated foe. That is why he hates us.
As we learn from Jesus and the Scriptures, and as we allow the Holy Spirit to develop Spiritual fruit, His fruit in us—we have the fruit available and we learn when to act and how to react.
What comes out when you are squeezed?