The Nature of Fruit
Note: If you’re reading along with me in the NT, Galatians 5 this morning!
Note 2: I’m in Colorado this week! I’ll be keeping my posts short today and tomorrow and then the rest of the week you have the treat of hearing from a guest on the book of Ephesians!
Try this experiment. 1: Write down a list of characteristics of good fruit. 2: Go find the closest fruit tree. 3: Give the tree the list. 4: Stare at the tree judgmentally until it produces the fruit described on your list. Would that work? Obviously not! But for the longest time, I thought Galatians 5:22-23 was exactly this sort of list.
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
– Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
If we want to follow Christ in these fruits, the path is not to muster up a lot of self righteous courage and be more loving, joyful etc. The path is to check on our roots and let Christ give us what we need to grow. Jesus says it like this in John 15:
“4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
– John 15:4-5 ESV
There may be a lot we could say about abiding in Christ or, as Galatians 5 calls it, walking by the Sprit. For our purpose today, let me just encourage you that a huge first step to “abiding in Christ” is to spend time with him in his Word and in prayer each day. I hope these daily posts serve you in doing that. Then, throughout the day, reflect on God’s Word, and pray and ask the Spirit to convict and guide you.
Most simply, I mean this: Beware of going straight for the fruit, “I need to be more loving.” Instead, see lack of fruit as a sign of a root problem, “God what does the gospel tell me about how to love in this situation that I’m not really believing.” And then let the Spirit do the work in your heart through the Word produce fruit in your heart.
God bless from Silverthorne, CO. I’ll be the guy who looks like he’s from Pascagoula, MS trying to stay alive on the slopes today.