Fruit. I love fruit. I know a fruit when I see one. Apple, orange, pear. You know it when you see it. It’s unmistakable. Not because of how they are displayed in the grocery store, but because of what you know to look for. In the culinary sense of these words, a fruit is usually any sweet-tasting plant product, especially those associated with seeds (Wikipedia).
Our walk with Christ should be the same way. We cannot produce fruit if we are not connected to the source of life. Just like an apple tree cannot produce apples if it is not connected to the root. Jesus addressed this when He was talking to his disciples in John 15:1-8. He said, “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
If we are true believers and are walking in obedience we will produce sweet fruit and it will be recognizable to those around us. Jesus was very clear about this. In Matthew 7:15-20, He said, 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” To me the false prophet could be compared to a tomato. A tomato is a fruit but is unrecognizable as such. Holding it up to what we know make a fruit a fruit, a tomato falls short. But it is indeed a fruit masquerading around as a vegetable.
So, how do we know if we are producing good fruit? We take an inventory. I came across this quote the other day and thought is was a great way to break things down.
A Partial Inventory of Spiritual Fruit.
A desire and ability to:
1. Pursue God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31).
2. Mature in Christlikeness (1 Pet. 2:2).
3. Be kind to others (Eph. 4:32).
4. Restore relationships (Mt. 5:9).
5. Rejoice in the Lord (Phil. 4:4).
6. Persevere through trials (Jas. 1:2-3).
7. Suffer persecution for Christ (2 Tim. 3:10-11).
8. Delight in God’s commandments (Psm. 119:47).
9. Read, study, memorize, listen to and meditate on the Bible (Jos. 1:8).
10. Share your faith (2 Tim. 4:5).
11. Be patient with others (1 Thes. 5:14).
12. Contribute to church unity (Eph. 4:3).
13. Desire goodness (2 Thes. 1:11).
14. Pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17).
15. Faithfully prioritize church (Heb. 10:23-25).
16. Prefer others (Rom. 12:10).
17. Surrender fully to Christ (Lk. 9:23).
18. Act faithfully (Gal. 5:22).
19. Serve in the church (1 Cor. 12:7).
20. Experience true peace (Gal. 5:22).
21. Be a committed marriage partner (Col. 3:18-19).
22. Love God and others (Mt. 22:37-39).
23. Guard your heart (Pr. 4:23).
24. Manifest a tempered spirit (Tit. 2:2).
25. Exercise self-control (Gal. 5:23).
26. Grow in the knowledge of God (2 Pet. 3:18).
27. Repent of known sin (Lk. 13:5).
28. Develop biblical wisdom (Eph. 5:15).
29. Examine yourself (1 Cor. 13:5).
30. Practice hospitality (Rom. 12:13).
31. Be humble (1 Pet. 5:6).
32. Work hard with integrity (Col. 3:23-24).
33. Act with gentleness (Gal. 5:23).
34. Manage your home (1 Tim. 3:4).
35. Instruct and discipline your children biblically (Eph. 6:4).
36. Listen more than you speak (Jas. 1:19).
37. Want Christian fellowship (Ac. 2:42).
38. Speak wholesome words (Col. 4:6).
39. Encourage others (1 Thes. 5:11).
40. Be an example for others (1 Tim. 4:12).
41. Forgive others (Mt. 6:12).
42. Fast (Mt. 6:16).
43. Hate evil (Rom. 12:9).
44. Be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
45. Support missionaries (3 Jn. 1:7-8).
46. Engage in spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:13).
47. Sacrifice with your finances (2 Cor. 8:3-5).
48. Experience hope (Heb. 6:11).
49. Sing spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19).
50. Develop biblical convictions (Jas. 4:17).
51. Commit to pure doctrine (Tit. 2:1).
52. Desire God’s will (Jn. 4:34).
53. Be thankful (Col. 3:15).
54. Submit wherever necessary (Eph. 5:21).
55. Prioritize spiritual things (Col. 3:1-2).
56. Long for our Lord’s return (Rev. 22:20).
Note: Our hearts must always be examined as much of this can be produced in the flesh. -Randy Smith
We could spend days talking about this subject. My whole point is to get us thinking. In this day and age we have lost touch with what actual spiritual fruit is. I don’t think we know how to recognize it anymore because of our lack of strong connection to the true Vine. Just because someone is a good person doesn’t mean they are producing good fruit. Hold what you know up to God’s standard. Ultimately we need to make sure we are holding ourselves up to the standard first. So, how is your fruit? Something to think about. =) Be Blessed!