Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. — Matthew 12:33
We human beings tend to overlook the simple truths of life and forget that the profound is usually revealed in the simple. For example, we can act out what we are not (at least for a little while), but this will not produce long-term fruit in our lives. In other words, an apple can only reproduce apples, because that’s what it is at its core (pun intended). Similarly, if we have an issue with anger, then no matter how kind and demure we try to act, eventually a challenging situation will arise and we’ll blow! As long as that anger goes unchecked and unhealed in our souls, we will continue to produce the fruit of anger. The same holds true for fear, jealousy, depression, low self- esteem, and so much more.
Many of us miss out on the abundant life that Jesus has for us because we haven’t taken an honest look at our spiritual core and recognized that our souls need some work. Forced to examine the fruit of my own life, I realized that I lacked any real deep joy and was only happy when things were going my way. Instead of having any peace, I was constantly striving for perfection and approval. I only had one speed — and that was supercharged. I don’t think I even knew how to spell the word patience. I wanted everything yesterday.
I realize that this is not rocket science, but so often we tend to overlook the simple truths of life and forget that the profound is usually revealed in the simple. Remember Jesus’ lesson from the fruit tree: we’ll only produce on the outside what we are growing inside.
Moment of Reflection
Which fruit of God’s Holy Spirit do you see growing in the orchard of your life? Are any missing? Which ones?
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. — Galatians 5:22-23
No amount of Christian activity compensates for the failure to be an authentic Christian. Our authenticity (or lack thereof) is made evident by the fruit that our lives are bearing. If we’re to be recognized as Christ’s followers, we need to be producing the fruit of His Holy Spirit.
Going to church or praying a prayer doesn’t automatically result in the fruit of the Spirit being produced in our lives. Rather, the condition of our souls strongly influences the fruit that comes out of our lives. Quite simply, if there are areas of our souls that have been damaged in some way, we will inevitably produce bad fruit in those areas. And keep in mind that bad fruit doesn’t necessarily point to a horrific past or abuse — it can simply mean that certain areas of the soul are still not Christlike (and we all have these).
We can identify these areas by examining our responses to the people and events in our lives. For example, when we hear that a coworker has received another promotion, do we exhibit the fruit of kindness and rejoicing, or do we talk about why someone else could do a better job? When we see a grim report on the news, do we freak out, sell our stock portfolio to buy gold, and fill our cellars with a six-month supply of imperishable food? Or do we respond with a strong peace in our hearts, knowing that God will take care of us?
If we want to bear good fruit, working on our soul muscle is imperative, regardless of whether or not our past looks like a train wreck (like mine). The goal for all of us is to develop the kind of prosperous soul from which flows the qualities Paul mentions in Galatians 5. This fruit cannot be manufactured or externally generated; it results only from soul transformation and an authentic relationship with Jesus.
Moment of Reflection
What fruit of God’s Spirit do you see growing in your life? How is that fruit expressed?
Watch the Video: Undaunted
Excerpted with permission from Living Life Undaunted by Christine Caine, copyright Christine Caine.
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The fruit of the Spirit cannot be produced on our own efforts any more than a tree or vine has to try with all its might to produce an orange or grapes. The fruit is born out in our lives as we become like Him, think like Him, and act like Him. What do you see God producing in you? What is lacking? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you!