Do you produce good fruit or bad fruit? Not the kind of fruit you eat, but spiritual fruit. There are fruits of the Spirit and bad fruits of your sinful nature. Would you rather receive love or hostility? Self-control or outbursts of anger?
Galatians 5: 16-26 talks about living by the Spirit’s power. If you are living by the Spirit’s power, then you produce fruits of the Spirit. These fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Your sinful nature produces other fruit, which I refer to as bad fruit because they are no good to you or anyone living a Godly lifestyle. These bad fruit are sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these (Galatians 5: 19-20). I’m not perfect by far, but when I take a look at the fruit of the Spirit vs the bad fruit, I want people to treat me with the fruits of the Spirit!
Yes, I struggle with all the Spiritual fruit. I don’t always show love or patience or self-control, just to name a few. But I think God laid this on my heart so that I am more aware of how I am acting towards others and even myself. I can’t do it on my own. I am human just like everyone else on Earth. God says let the Holy Spirit guide your lives so that we don’t do what our sinful nature wants, which is evil. I’m not saying you won’t still struggle. We are told that the Spirit and our sinful flesh will always be fighting each other. So it’s going to be a long, hard road. But then I think about what I will get if I follow the ways of this world. You know what I will get? Nothing. Living as the world does will not let me “inherit the Kingdom of God.” And that is not what I want! I want to be in the Kingdom! I want to praise Jesus everyday! I want to walk the streets of gold! And that starts with me following the fruits of the Spirit and letting the Holy Spirit lead me.
Let’s read Matthew 7:17-20. A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. This sums it all up. Would you eat an apple from a tree that is rotting? No! If the tree is rotting, then you know the apple isn’t going to be any good. But if the tree is good, so is the apple. Jesus says that every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown in the fire. Think about it…if you are producing bad fruit, you are going to be “chopped down” and thrown in the fire like firewood. Do you really want to be used as firewood? I know I don’t.
In a garden, you have trees and bushes that you expect to produce good fruit and vegetables. In order to get the most out of the tree, you have to prune the branches. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, prune means “to cut out useless or unwanted parts,” “to cut off dead or unwanted parts of a bush or tree.” If there is one branch on a tree that does not produce, you cut it off so that when it grows back, it will produce even more! It’s the same way with our fruit! Look at yourself as the tree. You are producing jealousy, selfish ambition, and anger. In order for you to produce good fruit, you have to cut off the unwanted branches. So you cut off jealousy, selfish ambition, and anger, and grow joy, self-control, and peace in it’s place. And you keep doing this until you have pruned all the dead branches and grown good fruit in its place.
John 15:1-17 talks about Jesus being the true vine and how God is the gardener. He cuts off the dead branches and prunes the rest so it will produce even more. Verse 5 says, Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. If you are producing Spiritual fruit, you are a branch that will not be cut off. You will remain in God, as He will remain in you. If you are a tree producing bad fruit, you need to cut off those branches. You don’t want to be a useless tree.
It is never too late to prune the branches in your life. God is a forgiving, merciful God. His is your gardener. Don’t wait another day. We will always fall short and need some pruning, but that’s what’s so awesome about having God as your gardener! So which fruit are you producing?