5) Fruit bearing is gradual, it’s mysterious, it’s internal, it’s symmetric and it’s inevitable.
What does a fruit bearing life look like? Just like there are no two identical oranges from the same orange tree, fruit that is born in each believer’s life is unique. If you have an orange tree, you should get 2 oranges, albeit slightly different, not 1 orange and 1 durian. If you don’t know what durian is, it’s okay. It’s better that you don’t know. The way fruit is born in my life may look a bit different than fruit born in your life. Yet, since we are born from the same Heavenly Father through the Spirit, there will be a strong family resemblance.
My kids prove this principle. Timothy looks exactly like me and if Jackie cuts her hair short like a guy, you get Jeremiah, and Timothy and Jeremiah look nothing like each other but they look like mom and dad. God is fair because Elijah is a 50-50 hybrid of both parents. Kids will look unique but there should a strong family resemblance since they share the same parents. Likewise, Christians may bear fruit in slightly different and unique ways, but as children of God, there should be a strong family resemblance with our Father in heaven.
Bearing the fruit of the Spirit sounds kind of abstract, right? What does it look like? Simply put, when the Spirit is at work in your life, you change. It is impossible to remain as you are.
Christian growth is inevitable. If you have the Spirit of God within you, you will grow. You will mature. You will become more and more like Christ. You must. It’s like an acorn. An acorn vs. a thousand pound slab of concrete. Who wins? It’s no contest. The acorn will always win. It grows into a tree and it is powerful enough to split a sidewalk. Botanical growth has this kind of power in its gradual-ness. How much more powerful is the fruit of the Spirit?
Let’s be clear. You are not saved by fruit. You are saved by faith in Christ. This is the gospel. A genuine encounter with Christ that leads to a true conversion will result in change, growth, fruit. You are saved by faith, not fruit. Faith in Jesus saves. Faith that He died on the cross for your sins. Fruit does not save. However, you are NOT saved if your faith is fruitless. True faith and true fruit are inseparable.
Final question: how do we bear fruit? Fruit-bearing requires two things. First, let’s read Gal 5:24. [READ]
24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
You have to crucify the sinful nature. Does that mean just stopping certain behaviors? That’s like cutting off a branch. You have to deal with the root, not the branches. Our sin arises because of the flesh, meaning, there are things in our hearts that we desire more than Jesus. There is something at the root level that is more important to you than Jesus Christ and that thing is running your life and creating the works of the flesh. Remember, the works of the flesh are the outward manifestations of a root that is still fleshly. Those things need to be crucified. You need to go home and identify the things that need to be crucified.
Second, v25– [READ]
25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.
While the flesh desires things like self-glory, recognition, the applause of men, the Spirit only desires one thing–Jesus. The Spirit is in love with Jesus. We are the bride of Christ and Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Spirit is like the best man and the maid of honor who brings us together. And the Spirit says, look at how beautiful Jesus is. The reason you lack self-control and the reason you worry and the reason you waste your life away on idols is because you don’t recognize the beauty of Christ.
Paul does not say, fruit vs. weeds. It’s fruit vs. works or acts. Why does Paul mix his metaphors? A work of the flesh is something you do. Fruit, on the other hand, fruit of the Spirit is something you avail yourself to. The gardener doesn’t make the seed grow. All he can do is to create the right conditions for growth.
What are the right conditions for spiritual growth? A heart that has crucified the sinful nature or the flesh with its passions and desires. Examine your passions and desires. Are there things that you are more passionate about than Jesus? Things that you desire more than Jesus? Those need to be crucified. Second, you need to live by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit as he directs your attention to the beauty of Christ. Now we are full circle. We are back to the gospel. Jesus is the gospel embodied. He not only saves us, he sanctifies us as we abide in Christ moment by moment.
If you understand the gospel and you are truly converted, your life will change. Fruit will be born as you continue to reckon your flesh as dead and as you rely on the Spirit, whose sole job is to point you back to Christ over and over again. If the Spirit has convicted you through this message of your fruitlessness, drop everything and run to Jesus.