Jesus said something very profound, let’s read
“You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.” – Matthew 7:16-17 NLT
No matter how much alike certain trees look, their diverse fruits is what sets them apart. There is no natural tree that bears forth two types of fruits at the same time, you either get mango from a mango tree or you say it’s a fruitless mango tree.
Many times, we want to think that the fruit of the Spirit is the big things that we presume would please God, we think that the fruit of the Spirit is about how much we pray, how much we grasp the deep things and how much we communicate same.
The fruit of the Spirit is not the deep things that God sees but the very simple thing that other men see. These fruits are supposed to be harvested by men and enjoyed.
You can be full of knowledge and yet arrogant, you can be very committed to fasting and prayer and yet walk in hatred, you can be committed to certain degrees of ministry and yet you are bitter, always keeping malice.
The fruit of the Spirit is not the expression of God’s gifting in you, many people can express the gifts of the Spirit and still fail at showing forth the fruit! What is the fruit of the Spirit?
I’ve done some teachings on this before. The fruit of the Spirit is the character of our spirit, our holy Spirit. Many people do not express the fruit of the Spirit because they aren’t working out their salvation. What does this mean? They aren’t expressing the results of their salvation.
Every believer in Christ Jesus is fruitful and on the inside, the Holy Spirit is producing fruits in you but it is you who decides to shine it forth. When the Bible talks about working out our salvation, what follows immediately is a reminder that working out our salvation isn’t the display of our self-righteousness but that which God is doing in us.
The fruit of the spirit is shown intentionally. If we know people by their fruits, that means the fruit of the Spirit is the only way to know a man who is born again. Remember, while God looks at the heart, the man looks at the fruits. The fruit can be the result of the state of our hearts and we can bring our hearts to any desired state by what we feed into it over time.
Let’s just read one place in the Bible as we sum up this discussion:
“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!” – Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
I said earlier that the fruit of the Spirit is not the gift of the Spirit but the characters formed in us as a result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, it is the character of our born again Spirit.
When we love, rejoice, dwell in peace, stay patient and persevere, show kindness and exercise self-control, we are showing forth the fruit of the Spirit. This is not something we wait for the Holy Spirit to do, it is something we make efforts to do. It requires effort and intent.
“In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge…” – 2 Peter 1:5 NLT
So, when there is an opportunity to hate on someone, I should be able to ask myself “what will God want to have me do in this situation?” Of course, I know God would have me walk in love regardless! So, I’ll go ahead and walk in love! This way, that person who wronged me will see that I am different! The Bible says
“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” – Galatians 5:25 NLT
You can live by the Spirit and not follow the leading of the Spirit. This is how many people express a great degree of the gifts of the Spirit but express very little of the fruits. If we are yielded to our own emotions and fleshly desires, we will only satisfy the flesh. The flesh wants to revenge, the flesh wants to fight back, the flesh wants to hate those who hate it…
The flesh wants to be satisfied at all times even if it has to means going beyond moral boundaries. The flesh will always see a way to be pleased and it is this weakness of the flesh that the devil often takes advantage of.
Christian maturity is evident in our readiness to follow the leading of the Spirit. Expression of spiritual gifts doesn’t necessarily indicate that one is spiritually mature. What indicates that we are mature is our readiness to express these fruits of the Spirit. Peter, the Apostle captures this in a more profound way, he wrote thus
“The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.” – 2 Peter 1:8-9 NLT
You can grow in your consistency in expressing the characteristics of a believer the more you make efforts. In fact, your knowledge of Jesus should be supplemented with the expression of good character! You’ve got to develop it, you’ve got to try and trying isn’t religion! Peter likens those who fail to develop godly character as those who forgot they’ve been saved from sin!
Nobody is saying you won’t want to hate, fornicate, steal, cheat and do all manner of things but you don’t have to! Those are the desires of the flesh and you must subdue it by insisting on the leading of the Spirit.
If you have to lie to get that contract, decide to do away with the contract. If you have to engage in sexual immorality just to prove a point, decide to do away with that relationship. It is easier said than done but it can be done, it requires effort. Even if you’ve tried and failed, it’s time to try again knowing that you aren’t making efforts to do the impossible but to bring forth what is already inside of you. Peter went further to write:
“So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.” – 2 Peter 1:10 NLT
It is hard work! To prove that you belong to God, you must make efforts! The religious people often think this effort is about not using makeup, jewelries and all of that… It has nothing to do with those but it has everything to do with how we dwell with others. We need to consistently walk in love, moral soundness, peace and honesty! The Bible says
“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” – 1 John 4:16 NLT
The fruits inside of you are ripe, it’s time to start harvesting them, it’s time to give the world the true juice pressed from the fruits of your spirit, let them drink of it and know that Jesus makes all the difference.