Read John 15:1-11. Why can fruit come forth only out of a living relationship with Jesus, the vine? Why is abiding in Jesus so important? How do we abide in Him?
The first secret to genuine Christian fruit bearing is to abide in Christ. Apart from Christ, we cannot produce genuine spiritual fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is not imposed upon us from outside, but is the result of the life of Christ within us. In John 15:1-11, Jesus tells us that fruit bearing is the result of the life of Christ, the vine, flowing through the branches of the believers. The growth of the fruit is God’s work through Jesus Christ.
The responsibility of the believer is to abide in Christ. When Christ dwells in our thoughts, He will become visible in our actions. Jesus lives His life in us. The life Christ lived will be reproduced in us, in the sense that we will reflect His character.
The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Jesus, produced by the Holy Spirit in the followers of Christ. When Christ dwells in us, we will “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16, NASB).
In the words of Jesus: ” ‘Every good tree bears good fruit; but the rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit’ ” (Matt. 7:17-18, NASB). The good fruit is the natural product of our abiding relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. When we cooperate with the Spirit’s inner promptings on our hearts, the fruit of the Spirit becomes evident in our lives. Our characters will be transformed to reflect the character of Jesus Christ in what we say and do and even think. The Holy Spirit will give us power to live victoriously and to develop the virtues that are characteristic of those who are God’s children.
|In 2 Timothy 3:5, the apostle Paul describes people who “will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly” (NLT). What is the difference between a religious life and a life that is filled with the Holy Spirit? How can we know which kind of life we ourselves are living?