The concept of fruit, and different trees bearing different types of fruit is all throughout Jesus’ teaching in the Bible. In Matthew 7, Jesus talks about recognizing if a person good or evil based on their actions, just like you can know if a tree is good or not based on the fruit it makes. In John 15, Jesus says that He is like a grape vine, and if we stay connected to him we will produce great fruit—or actions, attitudes, and desires. If we disconnect from him he says that we can whither away and die. Our life will resemble the world, full of sinful actions and attitudes and desires. Galatians 5:16, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.” What does that mean? How do we do that? Living by the Spirit is how we produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. What I want you to get from this is understand that when we talk about fruit, we are talking about what our lives produce—Your Actions, Your Attitude, and Your Desires.
I think a lot of people simply think, “If I act like a follower of Christ, that is good enough.” After all, isn’t that what people expect? Your parents expect you to act like a Christian because they bring you to church. Your youth pastor expects you to act like a Christian and obey all the rules when I take you an event. Even your friends, if they know you are a Christian, expect you to be different somehow hand act different. But sometimes it just stops there. You act the part. It isn’t wrong to try to act more like Christ, especially when you don’t know how else to act. But if you are faking it—you aren’t really living in the Spirit as it says in Galatians here. So therefore, your life cannot produce the real fruit of Jesus.
That is the battle going on in our lives. Our natural desires are sinful—or to do things selfishly, for me. The Spirit’s way is to live life to bring honor to God. This is the constant battle in each of our lives. Here’s the thing, though, if you don’t want to grow in this area, if you don’t want to work on living in the Spirit, you need to seriously check your commitment to God. I mean, an honest and sincere relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, starts to build in each of us the desire to live for the Spirit—and if you would rather not, then perhaps you’ve never really surrendered to Christ.
In this book of Galatians, the author Paul gives us a list of some of the good fruit we should expect from our lives when we live our life guided by the Spirit of God. Check it out in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Those nine characteristics are what our lives should produce as a result of living God’s Way, guided by His Holy Spirit. But check out what Paul says are some of the results of following the sinful nature. Galatians 5:19-21, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these…” Pretty brutal list. Now I don’t read this as a way of casting judgment. I know exactly what our culture is thinking, and what each of us are taught. If I say you are wrong, I am judging you. But here’s the thing, the Bible lays out a pretty solid, and honestly, straightforward warning. Live by your sinful nature, and you will not inherit the Kingdom of God. I can tell you I’m not casting judgment, because I have struggled with almost every single one of these sins listed out. I’ve told my share of inappropriate jokes, and enjoyed movies with very crude humor. I’ve been greedy, and even cheated people. I’ve lied, been jealous, and prideful.
It comes down to this. There are voices telling us what to do and how we should act all over the place. Voices from God, his Spirit, and voices from the world, and our own sinful nature. Constantly we are bombarded with these voices. Now I’m not necessarily talking about what people are actually saying, although that does play a part. I am talking about even our own feelings. Honestly put, if we are swimming in the pool of our sinful nature, even our feelings and emotions will betray us. However, if we are seeking out a close relationship with God, His voice becomes louder, clearer, easier to understand, and even easier to follow.
I think it’s been awesome to get the challenge to live by the Holy Spirit, and let Him produce this fruit in our lives. Let God’s Spirit change our Actions, our Attitudes, and our Desires.