All of us have a desire to live lives that not only glorify God, but also lives that benefit others. The most effective way to go about doing that is to produce the Fruits of the Spirit that are listed in the New Testament. However, it’s not always easy to just know how to go about producing the type of fruit that God wants us to produce. Today, discover what it means to truly live a fruitful life.
On that ABC musical drama, Nashville, which aired for six seasons from 2012 through 2018, the lead character, Rayna James, often sang a song titled “Life That’s Good.” Within this song, she expressed her desire to live a life that was about more than just herself. Instead, she wanted to be able to look back on her life at the end and recognize that she had lived a life that had been a benefit to other people, as well.
Obviously, Nashville was not a Christian show, so Ms. James’ goals didn’t completely align with those that we should possess. Instead of simply wanting to be able to look back on our own lives and acknowledge that we’ve lived a life that’s good in regard to other people, we must also commit ourselves to living lives that glorify God in everything that we do.
For believers in Christ, living a “life that’s good” goes far beyond what other people think about us. Yes, our legacy is an important part of embracing eternity and doing what God would have us to do. However, for Christians, the Fruits of the Spirit, which are listed in the New Testament are the true measure of godliness.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
Knowing the Fruits of the Spirit is only part of the equation for believers in Christ. In order for us to truly embrace discipleship and what Christ wants for us, we must also understand how to produce those fruits in our own lives.
If you were going to grow an orchard, you would begin by picking out which type of fruit you wanted to grow. For instance, if you wanted to start an apple orchard, you would go out and buy the supplies necessary to grow apple trees. Obviously, this shopping list would begin with seeds for apple trees. If you want to grow apple trees, you don’t plant orange trees.
However, you would also spend some time researching how to grow apple trees. You wouldn’t just look out over your newly cleared piece of land and say, “Well, I hope I start getting some apples soon.” You would undoubtedly spend some time educating yourself on how to grow a fruitful orchard.
In the same vein, we should learn more about what it means to produce fruit in our own lives. Just because you know what apples are doesn’t mean that you’re equipped to grow and harvest them. Similarly, just being able to name the Fruits of the Spirit doesn’t mean that you’re growing them. Today, learn more about how you can produce fruit in your own life so you can live a life that’s good.
Starting With Love
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
There are nine Fruits of the Spirit in the passage we just read from Galatians. Obviously, God wants us to put each of these principles on display in our own lives. However, when you look at the nine fruits listed, it could easily be argued that each of them ties back to the first one, love.
In our culture, love is one of the most talked about, sought after, misunderstood concepts that we hear about. Everybody wants to be loved. Even if you’re not looking at love through the lens of a romantic relationship, everyone is born with an innate need for love. When you were a baby, you were completely helpless. You relied on the love of adults in your life to care for you, change you, feed you, and do everything else on your behalf. You depended on their love for you to survive.
As we get older, we still look for love. While it’s easy to only consider our own need for love, it’s important to understand that everyone else in our lives is also looking for love. Living a life that bears fruit begins with committing to love other people. Reread the passage we just read from 1 Corinthians. Everywhere that the word “love” appears, put your name. If there are any parts of the passage that don’t make sense with your name involved, ask the Holy Spirit to help you get better at loving others. Doing so is the first step in planting your orchard full of spiritual fruits.
When you figure out the first Fruit of the Spirit, love, it becomes much easier to practice the others.
Joy to the World
1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV)
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
We do not have the time nor the space to fully break down how to produce all nine of the Fruits of the Spirit in a single study. However, focusing on some of the earliest fruits mentioned will help us become better at growing a spiritual orchard that produces all types of fruit.
If you read back over the two verses from 1 Peter that we just read, you will notice that he mentions two of the Fruits of the Spirit that Paul wrote about to the Galatian Church. Obviously, Peter was illustrating that there is a relationship between love, the first fruit that we discussed, and joy, which appears second on Paul’s list of nine spiritual fruits.
When we accept Christ’s love for us and then return that love to Him, joy is a natural byproduct. When you rest in the fact that you are loved by the God of all creation, it becomes nearly impossible not to let joy flow into you and through you toward others.
When you live a joyful life, your relationships with others will improve, allowing you to better produce fruit in your relationships with friends, family members, coworkers, and others.
How Do You Control You?
Romans 7:15 (NIV)
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
When we read about the heroes and heroines in the Bible, we often think that those people had everything figured out. After all, would God really preserve the stories of these people for thousands of years if they struggled? Yes, yes, He would. In fact, He did!
Paul, the man who wrote most of the New Testament acknowledged that he struggled with controlling his own sinful desires. Most of us can relate, even though we would rather not admit it.
The final step in producing Godly fruit involves getting yourself under control. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that we can do on our own. Instead, we must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to put our fleshly desires under subjection so we can create a life that produces fruit.
In the same way that an empty orchard can’t produce abundant fruit on its own, we can’t either. However, when we cause our flesh to submit to God’s will, we will see the Fruits of the Spirit at work.
A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I want to live a life that is good. I want to live a life that includes production of the Fruits of the Spirit. Show me how I can go about doing so more effectively. In Christ’s name, Amen.