We all want to see good fruit in our lives. It’s not only a good thing, its our very nature as believers in Christ to have such fruit in our lives. However often our very good intentions to produce good fruit can back-fire on us.
Often, I find it easy to get so wrapped up on producing good fruit that I realise that I’ve left Jesus out of the equation! You see it’s important to remember that God is not interested in your fruit what He wants is for His fruit to be made manifest through you.
Our calling as believers is not to produce fruit but rather to be branches which simply bear His fruit.
The fruit of the Spirit
To illustrate what I’m talking about let’s look at the best fruit we can have in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit.
So often I get so wrapped up in trying to produce these wonderful fruits that I forget that they are not my fruits to produce. They are the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit I produce ends up being a cheap counterfeit. So surely it would just be a better idea to let the Spirit produce fruit in us rather than working hard to produce what ends up being a substandard produce anyway.
Below I’ve gone through the fruits and described what I have experienced in both allowing the Spirit to produce the fruit in me and trying to produce the fruit myself.
|Overwhelming love and affection for someone bursting forth from inside – never influenced by their actions or circumstances but rather solely based on who the Spirit is and the Father heart of God.||An attempt to show affection and love for someone based on my own effort. Strongly influenced by how they perform around me or how I am feeling that day.|
|Joy unspeakable that cannot be contained. It is not influenced by situations – death, depression, sickness, persecution, losing your job – all these things have no say in this joy which is rooted in Heaven.||An attempt to plaster a smile on every situation. When times are good it might even look and feel like the real thing but when times get hard it’s all too easy for people to see the hypocrisy – the smile is from ear to ear but behind closed doors there are tears and uncertainty.|
|A peace that transcends understanding. This peace doesn’t care about the storms of life because it doesn’t take it’s report from Earth but rather from Heaven. This peace is not tethered in what man says but rather in what God has to say.||An attempt to find peace in every situation. On the outside it looks like you don’t panic that much, but on the inside there are constant nagging questions. It focuses on us and our ability to understand rather than leaning on God and His understanding.|
|A confidence that God has said what He has said and it will happen. A knowledge that things are happening in the spiritual realm even if they don’t appear to be happening in the natural yet. It is a patience that doesn’t look at the surrounding circumstances but rather rests in God’s word. It waits in perfect peace.||An attempt to not get too impatient and if possible actually show patience on the outside. To many people it looks like patience but on the inside there are frustrations and a lack of peace. We may even end up getting angry and upset with God for not doing His part while we wait so “patiently”. It focuses on how long you can wait, not how well you do the waiting.|
|A relentlessly kind disposition to all people, not choosing to be kind to people based on if they will be kind in return, or if they have been kind to begin with. Rather choosing to be kind because you have been made kind, kindness is in your nature.||A deep down knowledge that we are supposed to be kind to everyone. This can be pretty easy to express towards those we love or who we may get something in return from but to everyone else it sure is hard work. Usually when we do manage to be kind it is met with one of two emotions, guilt for knowing we didn’t really want to, or pride and self-righteousness, thinking about how kind we are.|
|A general posture of good. We are good and produce good easily. We believe all things work together for the good of those who love God and that we are an active part of that. Everything we do produces good in our lives and the lives of those around us. Goodness follows us.||An attempt to do more good than bad. It’s a constant burden of knowing what is right and desperately trying to always do it. We very often manage to do it (making us proud) and yet more often fail to reach the high standards of “good”. We also know exactly what we shouldn’t do and try with all our might not to do those things… of course, we fail at that leaving us feeling guilty and full of condemnation.|
|A confidence in the goodness of God, other people, ourselves and an expectation of good in our circumstances. This allows us to see everything through God’s lenses and powerfully walk in the grace that Christ has given us. Faith is a gift and so even this faithfulness is simply a resounding “OK” to the rhema word of God in our lives.||An attempt to rustle up faith in God and to believe in something enough to change things. It always has the nagging doubt in the back of our heads “do I have enough faith?” and when we do see results leaves us feeling self-righteous about our ability to have faith. It’s utterly self-focused and not focused on the giver of faith, Jesus Christ.|
|A natural disposition to think of others first and ourselves second. We are consumed with the thought of others and their wellbeing. We are other-focused in our thoughts and actions. People who have been around us feel encouraged, edified and equipped to be better people.||An attempt to be as gentle as possible. Desiring to care for people, however, ultimately failing to do so and succumbing to selfishness. It attempts to show people that you love them more than yourself but while the fruit might be there sometimes you know yourself the truth is that you love yourself more. While you are gentle more often than not, there is still definitely the “not” in your life.|
|Because we are fully aware of our union with God we don’t find ourselves thinking of the 101 different things we shouldn’t do. The Holy Spirit doesn’t produce bad fruit and so we aren’t worried about that. Rather we are free to enjoy ourselves in Him and watch as the “flesh” gradually becomes a non-existent issue the less we think of it. Why would we worry about doing bad when God is so preoccupied with doing good through us.||We are consumed with what is right and wrong. We must consistently focus on every possible sin that we might commit and how we might avoid doing that. We of course then absolutely fail to do so like Paul explains in Romans 7 and 1 Cor 15 – the strength of sin is the law. If we focus on how not to sin we will only sin more. We live frustrated and angry because we spend so much time trying to control our behaviour and passions failing to realise that this is the problem in the first place!|
What about you?
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
What areas in your life to you need to let go and allow yourself to simply become a branch for the vine to produce much fruit through?
Where do you need to relinquish your control and let the Holy Spirit take the lead?