“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
If you have access to any place that grows fruits, go there. It could be an orchard, a vineyard or a garden, but go stand by those trees, vines, or plants. When you get there, I want you to get right up next to them, stand completely still…and listen… … …What do you hear them doing?…NOTHING! You don’t hear them “doing” anything, but yet they are still growing fruit! This is how we grow spiritual fruit! We don’t do anything except be ourselves in Christ! That’s it!
You’ve never heard an apple tree straining to grow apples. The apples just grow simply and easily as the apple tree is itself. You’ve never stood in a garden and heard strawberry plants grunting and groaning trying to squeeeeeeeeze out some more strawberries–the strawberries just grow. You’ve never heard a tomato plant say, “I’m going to try real hard to do my best to produce delicious tomatoes! This time I’m committed! This time I’m giving it my very best effort!”
No, you’ve never heard that before. First off, because tomato plants don’t have mouths, but even if they did, their tomatoes would still simply grow as the tomato plant is itself–not by its rededicated, hyped-up efforts from a garden pep rally.
You’ve never heard a vineyard worker walking by their grapevines yelling at the grapes, “Grow! You better grow! If you don’t grow, then you should feel terribly ashamed of yourself!” No. Fruit growth doesn’t happen through pressure or guilt. Instead, those grapes simply grow as they are connected to the vine!
This is the exact same way Christians produce spiritual fruit! We are connected to Jesus, so we don’t have to do anything except depend on our source and relax! Christ Himself explains this supernatural epiphany in John 15:5:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
For the fearful Christians–the ones who have been taught wrong–the first thing they will notice from this verse is “If you abide in me.” Because of sitting under fear-mongering teachings, they’ll think, “I better do my best to abide!” No! We don’t do our best to abide! That is the wrong application for this word! Abide simply means live, and as Christians we already live in Christ! (See Philippians 1:21, Colossians 3:3, Romans 6:6, Galatians 2:20).
So if we break this verse down for Christians–for actual believers in Jesus–we have no choice but to abide in Christ forever because we’ve been born of Christ! (See 1 John 3:9, John 3:16, Ephesians 1:5). It’s impossible to be unborn! This is why only non-believers don’t abide in Him. So don’t be afraid of this verse any longer, it is a comforting verse for us.
As we allow Christ to live through us while simply being the branches, we will organically–and without any effort at all–begin to produce some stuff called “fruit of the Spirit.” Whose spirit? God’s Spirit! The Holy Spirit! Paul calls Him the Spirit of Christ! (See Romans 8:9). This is the who who lives inside you, who won’t ever go away! (See Hebrews 13:5, John 10:28, 2 Timothy 2:13).
In Galatians 5:22 and 23, there is a list of the fruit of the Spirit–whom we are connected to–and this fruit grows naturally from us as we rest in God’s grace (see Hebrews 4:11). Our only “job” as the branches is to wake up each day and say, “Hi God. I love you. I appreciate you. I’m available for you.” In turn, you will begin to see this fruit falling off of you, left, right, and center:
When I first read this list of spiritual fruit I was like, “Well crap. That’s gonna be hard.” But there is nothing hard about growing fruit of the Spirit, whatsoever. If growing this fruit begins to seem hard, that should be an indicator of us trying to force fruit to grow. Remember, we don’t force anything, we abide. We simply be ourselves–branches.
As I’ve come to know the grace of Jesus on deeper levels, He has revealed to me that all I have to do each day, as a Christian, is be myself. As a result of me doing this, all of these fruits have grown in my life–in bunches! Have all of my unfair situations changed? No. Have certain difficult people changed? No. As a matter of fact, some of the situations and people have gotten worse. However, my spiritual fruit growth isn’t contingent on situations and people changing, but instead, it’s based on me allowing Jesus to live through me.
And make no mistake, these fruits are first and foremost for me to enjoy! Sure, other people benefit from our spiritual fruit–that is a very important reason to grow it! But God personally cultivates the soil of our souls for us to get the most out of our own fruit. Eventually these spiritual fruits will fall off of you everywhere you go, and around everyone you meet! But a “fruit-salad of the Spirit” is something you can always enjoy yourself!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father thank you for all you do, and thank you for another day of life! Thank you for teaching me how to rest in your grace! This lesson of learning to rest, while simply being myself, has grown SO much of your spiritual fruit in my life! THANK YOU! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who desperately want change in their lives, but may be forcing it, help them to relax. Help them to be as the branch on an apple tree, growing its fruit effortlessly and easily. They can do it, THROUGH you! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 1. Get your copy here!