“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Jesus has called all of His followers to “bear spiritual fruit.” This month at South Side our sermon series is entitled “The Fruit-Filled Life.” We are taking a fruit inventory of our spiritual lives as we study the Fruit of The Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.
Sometimes we grow impatient in our lives when we don’t see the spiritual growth we would like to see. But an important thing to remember about spiritual fruit is that it doesn’t grow overnight. It takes time. If I were to plant an apple tree on Monday, I could scarcely expect to enjoy fresh apple pie on Friday. It takes time for apples to reach their full size. I could pull up a chair, sit down, and wait for the apples to grow, but I still would not see any discernible difference. Even though I can’t see it at the time, that fruit is still growing toward maturity. Another reason we may not see spiritual fruit in our lives is because we don’t recognize it as such. Let’s take a look at some definitions from the New Testament of what it means to “bear fruit.”
Winning others to Jesus Christ and helping them grow spiritually is one form of spiritual fruit. Paul wrote to his friends in Rome, “Often I have planned to come to you…that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles” Romans 1:13. We also read in Proverbs 11:30 that “the fruit of the righteous is the tree of life, and he that wins souls is wise.”
Sharing what God has blessed us with is a way of bearing fruit. When Paul received an offering from the Gentiles for the saints in Jerusalem who were in need, he referred to that offering as fruit: “Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain.” (Romans 15:28) When I take my finances and invest them through my tithes and offerings, it will result in fruit to my account Philippians 4:17. Let me add that if your Christianity does not affect your pocketbook, then one has to question how much your Christianity has affected you. It should permeate every area of your life.
Praising and thanking God is another type of spiritual fruit. When we lift our voices in praise to God, it’s an offering of fruit to Him. The Bible tells us, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). You should not be a spectator when it comes to worship. You should engage, because it is offering fruit to the Lord.
Last, our change in conduct and character is fruit. Galatians 5:22–23 tells us, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These virtues should be a part of every believer’s life. But again, they don’t become visible overnight. It takes time for this fruit to grow. Be patient, and sink your roots deeply into the person of Jesus Christ.
Please understand that bearing fruit takes time and effort. However, the only way we can bear fruit is if we stay connected to the vine. Whether you’ve been a Christian for six months, or for six decades, in order to produce fruit you have to stay connected to Jesus. This Sunday at South Side we will look at three virtues of the fruit of the spirit. We would love to have you worship with us at 10:45!
South Side Church of Christ