Jesus came to give us an abundant life, John 10:10. We should all be wanting to grow His fruit, especially in view of John The Immersionist’s warning, God says through John, “And now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matthew 3:10) God wants to grow the best in us, from the very beginning, mankind has been too keen on an alternative fruit, which is seen in Adam & Eve eating the forbidden fruit. We certainly do not want to live lives that make other people think we have grown fruit, but inwardly, we know we are empty. We need to take this seriously because of the way Jesus treated the fig tree. One “day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. (Mark 11:12), later on “When evening came, they went out of the city. In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered! “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered., Mark 11:19-22. If we have faith that God will provide fruit in our lives and quit trying to give ourselves or other people the false impression that we are fruitful spiritually, then God will bless us, strengthen us and help us enjoy being a Christian, so that others may become Christians too. Jesus hates hypocrisy, and He killed the fig tree which gave a false impression. It was “in leaf” but it was the wrong time of year to be “in leaf” and ready to pick fruit from, so when Jesus cursed it, he cursed it for it’s false hypocritical impression. Since this is the only record of Jesus killing something, we should make every effort to be honest with ourselves, God and others, when it comes to showing and using the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.So let us choose to give God everything we need as He wants to grow the fruit of the Spirit which can only be found in Christ. There are five passages in the New Testament which describe His fruit, they are Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 5:9, Hebrews 12:11, and James 3:18, herein we find 12 words God uses to describe His singular fruit.. It is interesting to note that in Revelation, upon seeing all the glory of the end product of Christians in Heaven, the Tree of Life reappears and behold it continually bears 12 different kinds of fruit.. We may suggest that as we are born in Christ, we bear His fruit which is described as singular in several passages of the New Testament, but after we have been transformed and fully delivered in Heaven, we will see all these characteristics of Christ’s fruit, in their full glory, perhaps this is what the fruit on the Tree of Life in Revelation 22:2, represents. So let us learn all about the different parts of the Holy Spirit’s fruit to grow in our heart in this abundant life Jesus wants to give us here and now.
- Love, Gal. 5:22
- Joy, Gal. 5:22
- Peace, Gal. 5:22
- Patience, Gal. 5:22
- Goodness, Gal. 5:22, Eph. 5:9.
- Faithfulness, Gal. 5:22
- Kindness, Gal. 5:22
- Gentleness, Gal. 5:23
- Self-control, Gal. 5:23
- Holiness, Romans 6:22
- Righteousness, Ephesians 5:9, Hebrews 12:11, James 3:18
- Truthfulness, Ephesians 5:9
In the field of Reproduction and Botany, scientists have learnt that fruit is distinguished from vegetables as any flowering growth from the plant that has it’s seeds inside. This is why tomatoes as well as apples are often classed as fruit. Botanists have given fruit 12 different general characteristics or parts.
The following parts are around the seed.
1. Exocarp (outer skin)
2. Mesocarp (flesh of fruit)
3. Pericarp (flesh around seed, usually higher in fructose)
4. Endocarp (material around seed) in peaches it is the stone.
5. Pedical (part of stem which goes inside the fruit)
The following parts are all inside the seed
There are over 300,000 species of flowering plants that bear fruit, the majority have these 12 parts in them. This is the result of a Designer. We believe Our God, who made physical fruit also grows spiritual fruit. He designs both kinds with 12 parts and so desires each Christian be benefited with growing His spiritual fruit which contains all 12 parts described in the New Testament. Let us put our full faith in God as Creator and powerful enough to create His characteristics in our lifestyle, as we read His word and pray about His will to be worked out in our life. It is no coincidence that Jesus portrayed the word of God as the seed of the Kingdom. Notice how many parts of the fruit is inside the physical seed of fruit and how complex and necessary it is for the fruit’s existence and reproduction. This benefits everyone who enjoys the fruit. Are you growing and enjoying the fruit of the Spirit, which God wants to grow in your life?
Let us consider these twelve words from the Biblical list above:
1. LOVE: This is not the kind of love ‘rock stars’ sing about, but rather, it is a kind of love that multitudes have sung about over centuries and a love that will spring future generations into song for as long as time lingers into eternity. God is actually described as this kind of love. An eternal life giving love, which is patient and kind, never showing envy or boasting; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, (1st Corinthians 13:4-7). Actually this kind of love is not really human, it’s divine. We should praise God for making us in His image, an image that can taste His love and imitate it. God’s faithful children of centuries past did this and reflected it in the Psalms. All they could do was taste it and try to emulate it, but now, Christians get it poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, (Romans 5:5). His love is everflowing into our hearts and it is up to us, as to how it grows and shows. The old TV show, “love is a many splendored thïng” may be just a cliche for alot of us, but the truth is, the many splendored love of God yearns to be shown off from within our hearts. The nature of God’s love is to share and render service to people who don’t deserve it. This is done in many different and wonderous ways in our daily life, (or should be…).
Perhaps that is why Jesus calls his disciples to be lights in the world, having a love which shines brighter in all directions. Peter and Jesus had a discussion which highlights the aim of God’s love. John 21:15-17 records Jesus using the word ‘love’ in the divine sense (agape) as described above, in a question to Peter about his love for Jesus. Peter always uses a different word for love (phileo) in reply to the question Jesus asks over and over again. Peter ends up feeling frustrated that Jesus persists in talking about agape love, insinuating that Peter’s love is lacking something. The ingredient Peter lacked was a devoted decision to feed God’s sheep, pending any problem, Peter needed a courageous love in order to do the work Jesus had planned for him.
Feeding God’s sheep is sometimes a burden, and without our hearts obtaining the passionate commitment that is found in God’s love, we will fail. No matter how apathetic people are, we need to speak the truth in love. No matter how abusive people are, God needs us to lovingly turn the cheek. No matter how ignorant people are in the church, we need to patiently and humbly do what ever it takes to attract them to the grace and knowledge of Jesus. This is God’s agape love in action, from our hearts. God knows we cannot emulate His love in our daily life, all by ourself. It is part of the fruit of His Spirit, He must grow in us. What are you giving your heart, to make it good ground for healthy growth of God’s love in your heart?
Paul reminds us that our heart should be rooted in His love. He says, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19). We can give our heart good food to grow His love by, in praying this prayer and learning more about it from His word. His love WILL show.
JOY, No one will deny that the world is a beautiful place, neither will anyone deny that it is easier to be miserable in this world than it is to be beautiful. Just because the world may be beautiful, doesn’t mean, we feel beautiful all the time, the fact is, most of the time, the world can be a very miserable place in which to live. Let’s look at some ways Christians can be happy! It is God’s will that we be happy! Philippians 4:4, Rejoice always! This may possibly be the tallest order in the Christian’s life. Part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is JOY, Gal, 5:22-23. God wants to grow this in every Christian’s daily life. He gives us His Spirit in our spirit to be with us and grow the joy of Jesus. What is the joy of Jesus? Jn 15:11, whatever it is, it is something He wants us to KEEP ON enjoying with one another, much like loving one another, Jn. 13:34. It is permanent and absolute. When you GET to do what your Parent wants you to do, you are happy to be around them and be with you, BUT? When you GOT to do what your Parents want you to do, it’s not easy to be happy about it.The Bible is your resource guide on how to live your life, experiencing real satisfaction and happiness. Let’s keep the following principles in the forefront of our minds and at the centre of our hearts.
a. “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them” – (Jn. 13:15-17. Learn a servant’s attitude, serving others, takes your mind off of your troubles.
b. “There is no temptation that has overtaken you, which is not common to man, but God is faithful, who will not permit you to be tempted above that which you are able to bear, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1Cor. 10:13). Learn that you are not alone, millions & millions of people have and are suffering the same thing and that as a Christian, God will provide a way of escape, as well as help you to find others in the church to help bear your burden, (Gal. 6:1-3). This is worth being happy about.
c. “Now to Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end” (Eph. 3:20-21). Learn that prayer is a real channel of blessing for us to make contact with the power of God that works in us, to do things that we can’t even imagine or ask for. This is a means of communication we must be joyful about! Go through life with the power of God working through prayer in you.
d. “For he that will love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no deceit, let him turn from evil and do good, let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1Pet. 3:10-12). It doesn’t get any plainer than this. Speak and live the truth, obey God and you’ll be happy!
e. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18). Learn that the miserable part of life is very temporary in comparison to eternity. For the Christian an eternity of joy and bliss awaits those who abide faithful in this life.
f. “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” – Jesus (Jn. 16:33). The Christian has a friend that is closer than a brother, He has experienced pain and misery, Jesus. We have a High Priest that can sympathise with our sin, because he took it on himself on the cross. We have more than fellow mankind to share our burden with, we have Jesus and His Spirit, the God of all comfort. Jesus has overcome the misery of this world and everything in it. Since we are more than conquerors, He wants to suffer with us, Col. 1:24, let us be happy about the love of God in our sufferings.
g. “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice” (Php. 4:4). Learn that this is more than just advice, rejoicing is a command. James tells us, if a man be happy, let him sing, (Jms. 5:16). If your happy, God wants you to sing about it! Let’s be happy. God wants it that way, we want it, let’s do it!
Seven principles to happiness as a Christian.
Share your burden and look for your escape.
Pray for power to do good.
Put that power to good effect by SpeakingTruth.!
Believe that faith in eternal glory is better than temporary pain.
Remember Jesus has overcome the world for you, he sympathizes and wins the battle, don’t fight it alone.
Remember rejoicing is a command, sing it! Paul says in 2 Cor. 6:8-10 that the attitude we all have access to, even on a weary monday morning is.., “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”. Paul said, “in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds”, 2Cor. 7:4. Why? Because it is God’s gift, not my own.
3. PEACE, Jesus Christ Himself is our peace. This is easily understood when we accept the definition of the Greek word for ‘peace’, eirene. In Gal. 5:22 & Eph. 2:14.
Peace is a part of Him, which He wants us to enjoy at all times and in every way we can enjoy it, 2Ths. 3;16. Peace is His ability to make friends, overcoming anxiety and conflict between Him and us individually and personally. If it were not for the loving self-sacrifice of Jesus, we would have no hope at all, of ever becoming friends with our Creator, God, the Father and Lord of Heaven and Earth. Because of our sinfulness, we are often enemies towards Him and maybe more often in frustration against His will, because of our own sinful selfishness. The whole passage of Ephesians 2:11-22 needs to be read for a real good grasp of God’s peace in your mind.
When His fruit grows in our heart, we find a friendship with God as Abraham himself had such a continual and growing relationship with Him. Abraham is called the Friend of God, James 2:23, so lets consider the faith of Abraham and make it our own so we can enjoy the same friendship Abraham had. A faith that obeyed God’s word, against all the odds, Abraham travelled on a journey not knowing exactly where he would be finished. When he got there, he found it was famine stricken, but still gave thanks for it, and offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving. For survival he fled to Eygpt and when strengthened he returned to the land God promised and showed to him, that is real faith! Abraham also was patient and waited on the promise of God for a son, for several long years and despite all the odds of old-age, he continued with his barren wife, not forsaking her, but in a normal marriage relationship, she conceived and successfully bore a son in old age, what faith! And then if that wasn’t enough faith, Abraham showed more, when God asked him to sacrifice his son, Abraham tried, but God’s angel stopped him. Can we faithfully obey God, even when it seems dangerous? Abraham did, so can we. Greater is He that is within us, than he that is in the world. 1John 4:4.
Friendship with God helps us overcome many problems. His peace growing in our hearts gives us strength to overcome anxiety and worry in our daily life. Stress is today’s modern day number one killer, and we Christians fall victim to it, all too often. Philippians 4:4-9 needs to be read, prayed about and memorized by every single modern day Christian on earth, especially in our race-crazed modern lifestyle of push-button work ethics. God did not make human beings to be pushed for every hour of the day in a production line. We need to take to heart God’s word in Philippians 4:4-9 seriously, read it now and don’t stop! Of course it is true, God made us with physical bodies which can work and work hard. Jesus knew hard work as a carpenter and He also worked so hard as a teacher, that one day he was so exhausted he fell asleep in a boat crossing across a 2 mile lake! The apostle Paul taught the Christians in Thessalonica to not be lazy but work, 2Ths. 3:7-9. However, we must ask ourselves the question, ‘what are we working for?’ This may help us balance our work and rest, setting priorities where Jesus would set them. His peace we experience with Him will insure we do not overwork ourselves too often, especially when it matters most, our mental and emotional state of well-being must be kept in good shape if we are to overcome evil with good in this earthly life. Our physical health will eventually be depleted as Paul reminds us, the outer person perishes, but the inner person is renewed by His Spirit. 2Cor. 4:16.
Jesus condemned worry, in Matthew 6:25-34. But we all fall into that type of sinfulness all too often. Why? Maybe we should ask, Why should we avoid it? Firstly, it’s no good for us whatsoever! Secondly, it’s a complete waste of time. Thirdly, if we are worrying, we are not trying to find God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. Therefore, we are lost, without His rule and with out His goodness in our lives. His peace can help us rest on Him for answers and solutions coming at the right time after we have fulfilled His righteousness in our lives and done what is good to the best of our ability. There comes a time in every problem we approach, when we must stop and pray, casting our cares upon Him because He cares for us, 1Peter 5:7. Or do we really believe He cares for us. This may be why we worry too much, because we don’t REALLY believe God does care. If we do believe this, then we are walking in His friendship and are at peace with Him.
Reading Psalm 46, is a great source for understanding peace by God’s definition. The Psalmist makes clear that the mere presence of God can be used as a source of peace. The Psalmist also goes on about finding security for the future is such a reality, he can’t help but praise God in song about it, read Psalm 91:1-16. But no matter how much peace you may experience with God in your own mind, body and spirit, there is always that problem with the neighbors which will not go away. God understands that peace should be practical, and not just beneficial to yourself. Romans 12:17-21 was God’s way of showing us all that He understands what it takes to pursue peace with other people around us and that it is necessary to pursue it for our own satisfaction and other people’s eventual salvation. To implement what Paul teaches about pursuing peace with my neighbour, it helps immensely to have an understanding of a few proverbs God gave us through Solomon. Read Prv. 25:21-22 and remember the reasoning behind the law in Dueteronomy 32:35. Whatever the problem, trying to imitate Jesus is our source for showing what real peace means. Whether we battle with National pride, ethnic superiority, class distinctions, religious bigotry, sexism or ageism, we all have a right to know what God wants us to aim for and pray to obtain it. Are you growing this part of the fruit of His Spirit?
4. PATIENCE: When we seem least inclined to be patient, that is when we need it moreso than ever, to be patient at the time. We can be encouraged to grow in patience if we look at its benefits in the book of Proverbs. Read Proverbs: 14:29, 15:18, & 19:11. Patience is often called perseverance because of the need to keep going with the truth. Often times we find that patience is best shown, when we are keeping our thoughts focused on the underlying truth, instead of letting our thoughts rush forward on to things that don’t really matter during the moment our patience is being tested. James chapter 5 is an important chapter for us to understand if we are going to grow in persevering patience. Sometimes, the reason we are not as patient as we should be is because we are NOT focused on the right motivating truth, or the correct reason for doing something. If our motives are wrong, we will lose patience and get frustrated in our task, whatever it is. But if we keep an attitude or motive for doing something because we are trying to imitate Jesus in the task, then we will find the patience to keep on going and persevere to the end, tasting personal satisfaction and achievements. Sometimes the need for speed, works against us, when we really should be falling in love with the virtue of slowness. This is real obvious when a driver is on a road that is strange to him, or when his car is not working properly. The driver is struggling to navigate, or keep the car running, and all the other drivers just don’t understand, they get frustrated and disgusted, sometimes causing a wreck and always scaring other drivers. All because of two truths: 1) The other drivers do not know the truth. 2).The other drivers are not patient enough to slow down and value safety as more important than a few minutes extra driving time.
James 1:19-27 has three paragraphs in it, which at first glance may not seem to be connected in theme, but read them slowly and you will see: A-working righteousness. B-doing the word and doing the work. C-practicing pure religion. All of these necessitate patience on our part. One of the best ways to show patience is in the act of forgiveness. Matthew 18:15-35, it takes persevering patience to practice what Jesus demands of us, when we wrong someone, or when we ourselves are wronged by someone else. It is not easy to approach someone who has offended you, and neither is it easy to approach someone you have offended. It is hard for both people to confront eachother in a painful issue, but Jesus says we must do it! Why? Because without one of us finding the strength to go and talk, the weaker person will fester in the pain and even worse things happen in the future. But if the hurt person is patient with the wrongdoer, or if the wrongdoer is patient with the hurt person, then the strength or courage is found to make a confrontation in a way that recognizes the presence of Christ’s Spirit and the process of forgiveness takes place, starts to take place, Matthew 18:19-20.Patience is also needed between us and God. All of us are at loggerheads with God at one point in our life or sometimes quite often. It is usually because of our impatience with any given situation, that causes most humans to get very frustrated with God. Psalm 40:1-5 is a good text to learn why we should wait on the Lord. Waiting on things like a phone call from a friend is just an inconvenience, compared to a childless couple waiting for a child, or a single person for marriage, or a chronically ill person for health or death, or people in dead-end careers for a breakthrough, or people in unhappy marriages for a solution. These kinds of “waitings” often get people on their knees begging for the answer to such a painful question: “How long, O Lord?”. Understanding what kind of hope God puts in our heart is important. Without a real faith in the promises and rewards of God, our hope gets weak and we get confused about our aim in life. Without a real faith in the past blessings and wonderful works of God in the past, and we forget that God is a rewarder and lose patience. Remember Hebrews 11:6 is true for people in the past as well as ourself in the present and we look forward with hope to see how it comes true in our future, no matter what difficult and painful situation we find ourself in. The very end of Romans chapter 8, helps many Christians to keep hoping and waiting and going to the very end! Romans 8:18-28. The ultimate goal and reward is yet to come for each Christian that tries to let God grow patience in our life. We can not grow it ourself, we must wait on the Lord to grow it. This means we must pray for His timing and wisdom, keeping our mind focused on our need for more patience and God will work everything in our life out, for our good. The glory to come and the rewards within this part of life, are worth waiting for, no matter what pain we suffer. Because His glory and rewards we share in, are greater and better and more glorious than any hardship we could suffer here on earth.