Do You Bear Good Fruit?

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What’s your favorite fruit?  Do you even like fruit?  Jesus did.  He must have, first of all He created it and secondly, He spoke about fruit quite a bit.  I wonder what his favorite fruit was?  I love seedless red grapes and tart, crisp Granny Smith apples.  Although a perfect nectarine is luscious.

Imagine, with me, your favorite fruit.  Can you smell the sweetness as you pick it up to feel if it’s perfectly ripe?  Do you examine the outside to see if any bruising might warrant another pick?  As you bite into it, does the taste grip you with delightful satisfaction?  Can you hear the crunch of the bite and feel the texture in your mouth?  What a delicious sensation it is to enjoy a perfect piece of fruit.

Metaphorically speaking “fruit” is used of works or deeds in the scripture.  It is the visible expression of an inward, invisible power.  According to Vine’s the character of the ‘fruit’ is evidence of the character of the power producing it:

“You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit.” ~Matthew 7:16-18

“As the visible expressions of hidden lusts are the works of the flesh, so the invisible power of the Holy Spirit in those who are brought into living union with Christ produces ‘the fruit of the Spirit,'” (karpos –Vine’s)

“He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit. You are clean already because of the word that I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.
I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me – and I in Him – bears much fruit, because apart from Me you can accomplish nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a branch, and dries up; and such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and are burned up. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want, and it will be done for you. My Father is honored by this, that you bear much fruit and show that you are My disciples….You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that remains, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”
~John 15:2-8,16

Did you take note of the singular form of the word fruit?  It’s not fruits of the Spirit.  It’s one.  One whole fruit we receive through union with Christ.  His Spirit dwells in us and all aspects of His character are available to us.

What is the fruit of the Spirit?

The fruit of the Spirit is love,joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
~Galatians 5:22-23

If you are in Christ, these qualities are available to you.  Every moment you have the ability to choose good fruit.  If His Spirit dwells within, then the totality of His fruit is there.  The question then becomes: Do you choose to appropriate these qualities?

That’s where the rubber meets the road.

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29 responses »

  1. Sometimes Evangelicals talk about bearing fruit as if it means winning souls. I think the application of bearing spiritual fruit is much more scriptural. In the sermon on the mount, Jesus talks about salt and light, and says in the same way let your good works be seen by others so that God will get the glory. All of our fruit bearing directs the glory and honor Godward.

  2. this just seems so timely right now.

    and i really need to continue on working these out in my own life. especially the patience one. even so, i have not arrived – it is a daily work. so i pray that God will always keep me mindful of this so that i may bear good witness.

  3. I have heard that, Clark, and I suppose there is something to it. This outline is not my own; I looked into several sources and came to this conclusion. I don’t see how it’s a misapplication at all. Yes, I agree, it is all for God’s glory. Either application applies there. Thanks for commenting!

    Hey, TammyJo!! It is a process, isn’t it? I can see that in some areas of my life I’ve improved, choosing to walk in the Spirit so I won’t carry out the deeds of the flesh. However, I don’t always catch it. If I did I’d be perfect and ready for heaven…I guess. I see beautiful fruit coming from you.

  4. I think I sometimes get too lazy about making sure I’m getting enough fertilizer. (Wow, that sounded weird after I typed it…) What I mean is that I am firm in my beliefs but that certainty can make me lazy. I think I need to challenge myself more to look at my life from different angles and be sure I’m doing His will, not what I think His will looks like to me.

    Your blog has been great in giving me things to think about and sit with. I really appreciate that.

  5. Fruit as works and as character traits. As a believer, works should be motivated by love for our Lord and others. Of the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), some are more easily defined from both the horintal perspective in our relationship with those around us and the verticle perspective as they relate to our relationship with God.

    Which comes first, the verticle or the horizontal? There are times when ‘love’ for God’s and our ‘faithfulness’ to His truth results in being perceived as being UNloving when the truth is harsh.

  6. Thanks, Sara. I’m returning the favor. You challenge me. 🙂

    Thanks, Sherma and Brandy! 😉

    Hey, Dan. It’s good to see you here. Thanks for commenting. Without the vertical relationship, can there be a horizontal? The truth can certainly be perceived as harsh when, in fact, it is loving. I don’t believe “harsh” is the issue in being perceived as UNloving. And as the scripture shows, the totality, the unity of the character of Christ is ALL available within the believer. We are called to be loving and kind and gentle and self-controlled…all together, at the same time. We don’t get to pick and choose “fruits” — it’s all one fruit.

  7. Pass the fruit! Good post Michelle..all one fruit, from ONE spirit, ONE God, One love…sounds easy enough..hope I get it soon! 😉 working on it! love ya

  8. I love fruit! Favorite: sun warmed raspberries straight from the vine. This post makes me want to taste good to the people who bite into me.

  9. If you have a bowl in which are grapes, bananas, oranges, apples, strawberries and pears is it one fruit? I’m stuck on fruit as a collective noun and unable to envision all those morphing into a single fruit. I’m getting too old . . . 🙂

  10. Dan, I think your idea of a bowl of fruit would best depict the church with many different members. The Greek is singular. The Spirit within each of us is one and the same Spirit. Maybe you will see it easier in an orange with the different segments making up the whole, if you’re wanting a further word picture, but most analogies will break down. Here’s a couple of commentator’s words:

    the singular form suggesting the unity of the character of the Lord as reproduced in them, namely, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance,” all in constrast with the confused and often mutually antagonistic “works of the flesh.” ~W.E. Vine

    Paul lists nine graces (again, not an exhaustive list) which make up the fruit of the Spirit — the lifestyle of those who are indwelt and energized by the Spirit…(these nine virtues)They are naturally found together, unlike the gifts of the Spirit, which are variously apportioned, one to this person and another to that person (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:8-11). Where love is present, the other virtues will not be far away; it is love that binds them all together in perfect harmony (Col. 3:14)…they are the fruit of the Vine’s own life; so the conduct which conforms to the standard of the Kingdom is not produced by demand, not even God’s, but it is the fruit of that divine nature which God gives as the result of what he has done in and by Christ. ~F.F. Bruce

    The choice of fruit here instead of works is due probably to the conception of the Christian experience as the product of a new and divine life implanted in the saint. In 5:25, Paul speaks of the fact that the Christian lives in the Spirit, that is, derives his spiritual life from the indwelling Spirit, which spiritual life is the motivating force producing the fruit of the Spririt. The word fruit is singular, which fact serves to show that all the elements of character spoken of in these verses are a unity, making for a well-rounded and complete Christian life. ~Kenneth S. Wuerst

    And the other is from John Stott’s Sermon on the Mount. It’s online:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=jRxFuJi-qHEC&pg=PA77&lpg=PA77&dq=fruit+%2B+Sermon+on+the+Mount&source=bl&ots=0qmjv3JaNs&sig=s1sSbEj1cKAPq8jf5eIDOBqVQxU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result

    I enjoyed reading Stott’s explanation because it speaks of the fruit also being the teaching of the teacher. I don’t know if the link will go to the exact page. It’s page 77 question 10 and 11.

    That’s a long response…sorry. 🙄 Hope it helps. 😉

  11. I was trying to be funny about the collective noun and a picture of a ‘melded fruit’. 🙂 I thought of it as the unity of collective believers, but it’s not the same as the fruit of the spirit. I get your point. 🙂

  12. This blows my mind! I was reading Romans 8:9 off and on yesterday- If we do not have the Spirit, we do not have Christ in our hearts. Then I kept going back to the thought, if we claim to have the Spirit, then we must have the fruits of the Spirit. Funny, I don’t see any lemons listed in the fruit basket. I do see kindness, gentleness and self-control. Just a sec, let me take another peek – – nope, no lemons.

    Great post Michelle – you are right on target!

  13. You know, Dan, that smiley on the end…didn’t notice it. I’ll go back and fix it. Sorry. Well, I did get some more material out there! 😉

    Thank you, Papa! His Spirit coming through doesn’t look much like lemons to me…now lemonade…? That’s good stuff! I’ll take a big glass of that! 🙂

  14. I love lemonade!! Fresh Lemon pie even better! But I hate lemon juice without sugar!! LOL If we find a lemon in the basket – find some sweetness to go with it! Hope you are having a great day! Just keep pouring on the sugar!!!! Gotta go – maybe see if there is some sweet lemonade!!

  15. You always seem to know what I need.

    What’s your secret?

    When we accept Christ in our lives, confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts, we receive His Spirit [fruit]. I think the choice isn’t as to whether or not we have the fruit once we become believers, but as you said, the choice lies in whether or not we excercise the qualities of having the fruit.

    Don’t know if that makes sense?

    I know I have self-control, kindness, gentleness, meekness, patience, love, joy in me through His Spirit but often find myself not tapping into it. I suppose that is essentially what this journey is about; being able to discover those things available to us as believers and using them in our daily walk/interaction with people.

    Phew. Deep stuff. Praying that God would continue to give me wisdom concerning excercising those qualities.

    Love you.

  16. Very nicely written and explained Michelle… As you said to Dan… The Horizontal will never happen with out the verticle. That is why the greatest command is: Love the Lord, then love others.

    Peace and love sister.

  17. Hey, Gch! I get you because we’re much in the same place right now. You’re making perfect sense. I think you just rewrote my post much more succinctly. 🙂 The deepest stuff, I think, is learning to abide in Him and allowing ourselves to be used for Him alone. Love you, too, and always praying…really.

    Thanks, Carl. I appreciate that. Peace and love to you!

  18. I guess we need to be fruitie. Amazing how natural it is for a tree do bear fruit if it is fruit tree. We have a custard apple tree in front of our office. I got stressed a few years ago when there was construction around it and did not bear fruit for a few years. But sure enough after a while it keep on bearing fruit. I guess there are seasons when we bear much fruit or little.

  19. Fruity, huh? LOL

    Amen, DaRonn, we certainly don’t want to “chop down” or prune a branch from lack of fruit. We need to let God do that work. He’s the only One who knows what’s happening inside the branch and knows whether it’s time for pruning.

    Thanks for this addition to the discussion. 😉

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  21. I LOVE FRUIT!!!!!! I’m right with Angie … RASPBERRIES. YUMMMMM. I’ve talked to God repeatedly about many fruit bushes and trees (raspberries for sure) in and around my home in heaven. 🙂 He knows I love fruit. Love nectarines, too. And apples (have you ever tasted a Harralson apple? It’s kinda like a Granny Smith, but … hmmm … don’t knkow how to describe it. More crisp and light maybe? And it’s red.) Bearing fruit … You know my post on Rivers? That’s what this brought me back to. Ezekiel says that the river which flows from the temple is what causes life to spring up on all sides. It is reasonable to say that the fruit (and the trees) that grow along the river would not grow if the river weren’t there. So I think it goes back to the river. Which is of course the Holy Spirit flowing from inside of us. What is our choice? Well, to block it or let it flow freely. I think all these flow from relationship for the benefit of others. Not so we can present ourselves with a kind of completed checklist, but a way of measuring the size and strength of the river flowing out of us. Those outside the temple are the ones who have the benefit of eating the fruit. Our fruit is supposed to be picked and eaten (and enjoyed!) by everyone we contact on a daily basis. Fruit singular? Yes. 🙂 Because there is one source: relationship. I wonder what kind of fruit those that know me are eating …

  22. I love the image of the river as the Spirit of the Lord springing up within our souls. The living water flows. I agree, Annie, we can certainly “quench” the Spirit — block the flow. I think we do that through grieving His Spirit. Not taking our transgressions to Him, not washing our feet and hands clean from sin, after having been cleansed from head to toe. We must keep the relationship healthy.

    “Our fruit is supposed to be picked and eaten (and enjoyed!) by everyone we contact on a daily basis.”

    I’m hoping there’s no sour grapes here. I want to ripen into a sweetness that drips from the vine. Great thoughts, Annie!

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