Week 52: Fruit of the Spirit
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25
43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit,44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:43-45
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-5
So…it’s been one year…52 weeks of deepening devos. When we set out a year ago the goal was to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ. We picked a place. We dedicated time. We studied the Book of Romans for 34 weeks. We dove into the Scriptures each week. We gave and served and gathered and sang and prayed. All in an effort to be able to look back over 2018 and be able to say that we had truly deepened our relationship with God.
So…the million-dollar question is this…did it work? As you look back on 2018, can you say that your relationship with Jesus is deeper?
Now, my guess is that you are not even really sure how to evaluate that. Most of us assess relationships based on how we feel when asked how the relationship is going.
Well the Bible gives us a different standard to evaluate our relationship with Jesus. Jesus in Luke chapter 6, tells us that a tree is known by its fruit. That makes sense. If you see apples hanging from a tree, then you obviously know it’s an apple tree. On the inside of the apple tree is the DNA to produce apples. Well, when you receive Jesus as your Savior the Spirit of God is deposited or moves into your life. And as you cultivate your relationship with Jesus, the fruit of the Spirit of God in you begins to be produced through you.
So…according to the Bible…the best way to measure your relationship with Jesus is not to look at the activity in your life but to look at the fruit being produced. Now, those activities help create the type of environment where the fruit of the Spirit flourishes, but the activities are a means to an end.
So as you look at your relationship with Jesus over 2018...ask yourself these questions:
Am I more loving?
Am I more patient?
Am I more kind? etc etc
And my prayer for you is that as you reflect on these questions, though we all have a long way to go, my prayer is that you can say to the glory of God that your relationship with Jesus truly is deeper than it was a year ago.