Thursday, August 5, 2010

Peaches Grow on Peach Trees

In my last post, I talked about how essential it is that Christians bear fruit.  In fact, it is proof that their faith is genuine. (James 2:17)  But, perhaps you wondered what this Christian fruit looks like??  It's not quite as obvious as the lush peaches that grow on a peach tree.  Yet, Jesus made it clear that in the same way that peach trees produce peaches, not apples, the kind of spiritual fruit that is produced reveals the kind of spiritual "tree."   "For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.   For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes."   Luke 6:43-44 (KJV)

So, what kind of fruit should you expect to see in your life and in the lives of other Christians?

1. Character

A true Christian should exhibit the fruit of godly character.  Galations 5:18-24 clearly contrasts the bad fruit of living according to the flesh with the good fruit of living according to the Spirit of God. 

"But if you are guided (led) by the (Holy) Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.  Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill-temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like.  I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the (Holy) Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence).  Against such things there is no law [that can bring a change].

And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires."  (Amplified Version)

After reading this passage, we should ask ourselves whether our character is described by the first list (evidence of being controlled by our worldly human nature) or the second list (evidence of being controlled by the Spirit of God).  Clearly, a Christian should consistently exhibit the fruit of the spirit.

2.  Conduct

A true Christian should bear the fruit of a godly life that is above reproach.  

Since the beginning, this verse has motivated and defined our homeschool:   Philippians 2:14-15 -- "Do all things without grumbling and fault-finding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves], That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation (spiritually perverted and perverse), among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world."  (Amplified Version)  This passage clearly identifies my goal for my children.

Colossians 1:10-14 also describes the conduct of a true Christian:   "That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition].  [We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy, giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints (God's Holy people) in the Light.  [The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in Whom we have our redemption through His blood, [which means] the forgiveness of our sins."  (Amplified Version) 

Reading these passages should cause us to re-examine our lives to discern if our conduct reflects a desire to walk in a worthy manner that is pleasing to our Lord (rather than to ourselves or to the world around us) and to determine if our lives bear the fruit of good works.

3.  Converts

A true Christian should also be producing fruit in the lives of others.  We do this by sharing the gospel and making disciples, and by encouraging others to grow in the Lord.  John 4:35-36 says,  "Look!  I tell you, raise your eyes and observe the fields and see how they are already white for harvesting.  Already the reaper is getting his wages [he who does the cutting now has his reward], for he is gathering fruit (crop) unto life eternal, so that he who does the planting and he who does the reaping may rejoice together."  (Amplified Version)

We should ask ourselves if we are planting spiritual seeds in the lives of others?  Clearly, a Christian is concerned about the spiritual welfare of others!

So, how did you do?  Are you bearing fruit in your life?  If we truly belong to the Lord, we should definitely be blooming where planted!

"You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], He may give it to you."  -- John 15:16 (Amplified Version)

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