Are you bearing fruit in your life? That’s the only way to know for sure if you are born again.
Examine your desires. What do you desire most in life? What are you passionate about?
Next, examine your choices. If you know Jesus personally, you have the ability to fight against your sinful nature and choose the desires of the Spirit.
Are you increasing in your desire for spiritual things or do you find that your desires are no different than the non-believers around you? Or is there a reverting back to old desires? In either case, this should be a cause for alarm because you might not be born again.
There are certainly dry periods in our spiritual lives when no fruit is born, but when you look at your entire spiritual journey as a whole, is there a trend toward fruit bearing?
Maybe it’s tough to consider your entire spiritual journey because you’ve been going to church for your whole life. What about this past year? Is there evidence of fruit?
If God is active in our lives, then we should not be the same person we were a year ago.
What about 1 yr from now? May we all bear much fruit so that we can say a year from now, I am not the same person that I am today. That I am more loving, more joyful, we display a deeper peace, and greater goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
One word of caution. We can make the mistake of thinking we are bearing fruit because some people possess some of these qualities by nature. For example, some people are just born more gentle while others are more aggressive. And they say, see, I am bearing the fruit of gentleness.
Others are just uptight about school, it’s their personality so while others are playing, they are exercising extreme self-control to stay in their room to study. And they say, see, there is the fruit of self-control.
The things that we think are fruits of the Spirit are not always the real thing. You go to a place like Target and they have some fake flowers that look so real. I think nowadays, they even put a few blemishes on the flowers so that it looks more authentic. It’s not until you touch it or smell it that you realize that those flowers are fake. Spiritual fruit is the same way. Sometimes, we think we have fruit but it’s not the real thing.
That is why it says in John 15:4 –
4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. ~John 15:4
Our job is to remain in Jesus. And out of that abiding relationship with Jesus, fruit is born as a byproduct.
Spiritual fruit is not something we can produce on your own strength. The farmer who plants a crop cannot make the crop grow. All he can do is to plant the crop in the right environment. The right amount of sunlight, the right soil, the right amount of water. After that, it’s out of his hands.
The same principle applies for bearing spiritual fruit. We cannot make ourselves bear fruit. All we can do is to prepare the environment.
And we prepare the environment by remaining in Christ.
Concretely, what does abiding in Christ look like?
I have 4 practical suggestions.
1) In order to bear fruit, a seed needs sunlight. As Christians, we need SONlight, SON. The light of the Son of Jesus shining down on us, we enter his presence and bask in his goodness, we worship him, we thank him and adore him. I think you can do is while you are outdoors, while walking, or driving, in between classes.
2) Second, a seed needs water. We need the Word of God. We commit to read everyday and sometimes you are in the desert. Like reading Leviticus. It feels like Sahara sun and sand for miles in front of you. But then, out of nowhere, there comes a spring of water in the desert. An oasis. A verse that comes alive unexpectedly and we know this is God speaking to us personally. Be consistent in watering your life with the Word of God, even those parts you don’t think seem very interesting.
3) Third, a seed needs the right soil. Spiritually speaking, this is confession of sin. Our hearts are filled with thorns and rocks so we need to remove them one by one. The fleshly desires, we have to crucify them. We have a choice.
4) Lastly, a seed has to be buried deep. If a seed lands on the surface of the soil, it will not grow. Or if a seed lands in shallow ground, it can easily wither away. Spiritually, we have to bury the seed deep. This means shutting out the kingdom of noise, as we heard from last Sunday, removing distractions and being still and alone with God. Deep down where it’s only you and God.
In summary, are you a slve to sin or are you a slave to the Spirit of God?
If you are born again, you will bear fruit and the grace of God that covers you will, indeed, transform you.