When I read the familiar list of the fruit of the Spirit, I immediately think, YES. I want to be all those things!
Who doesn’t love joy and peace? Who couldn’t use more kindness and self-control?
It’s right to see this list and want it to be true of us—the fruit of the Spirit is good because God is good! The problem comes when we set out to bear fruit by being good, when we pretend fruit-bearing is simply a matter of our will instead of a result of our connection to Christ. The key lies in the name: the fruit of the Spirit. Not my fruit. Not your fruit. Not the fruit of She Reads Truth, or your favorite theologian, or even the Church! The fruit of the Spirit is borne of the Spirit. Period. The end.
To understand fruit-bearing in Gospel terms, there is no better resource than John Chapter 15. (Seriously – read the whole thing and then read it again! So good.) Jesus uses clear and practical imagery to explain the connection between Himself and His disciples:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.”
- John 15:5 HCSB
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are not fruits we bear of our own sheer will and desire. We bear fruit when, and only when, we are grafted to the True Vine. Jesus Christ is our nourishment! His Holy Spirit in us is the fruit producer; we are simply the branches which have the privilege of displaying His fruit. Or, as I keep saying and threatening to put on a t-shirt, “We don’t bear it; we just wear it!” (I know. Thank me for that one later.)
Friends, Jesus Christ comes to make us new. He comes to redeem the dead branches that we are and give us abundant life! Abiding in Him—resting, dwelling, remaining in Him— is the only source of our strength, our goodness, our fruit. Let’s press into the True Vine together today. Let’s be about the business of abiding in Jesus, and trust His Spirit to be about the business of bearing fruit in our lives.
As we wrap up this study, let’s take a moment to reflect and share:
Which fruit of the Spirit are you most tempted to produce on your own, apart from the Vine?
How has the Scripture you’ve read over the last 12 days changed the way you think of fruit-bearing? And abiding?
PSST – Just because our study of the Fruit of the Spirit is over, it doesn’t mean we’re done! Let’s keep reading! Keep seeking! Keep *ahem* abiding! Join us MONDAY as we begin a short, 5-day, crowd-favorite study of old Hymns and the Scriptures that inspired them! Not only will we enjoy some favorite returning guest writers (Sandra McCracken, Ellie Holcomb and more!), but this time around, we have actually been in the studio recording She Reads Truth’s very own arrangements! (More details tomorrow!!!)
So. Grab a friend or two, and plan to spend 5 days in the Word with us, with that special added layer of Scripture and worship!! WE CAN’T WAIT!!!