Four Things that make Good Fruit

30 Jul

Pastor Jamie Munson:

Fruit is a good thing because it indicates health. Here are four key steps to bearing good fruit:

It begins with the Holy Spirit.

We cannot bear fruit on our own. This is difficult for me to accept because I’m an activist. I hear an idea, and I want to implement it immediately. I’m very impatient, and I can get ahead of the Holy Spirit.

We cannot accomplish anything apart from God, however. We cannot earn our salvation or righteousness. We need the Holy Spirit to regenerate our hearts, take us from death to life, and then empower us to go bear fruit.

Hear and hold fast to the Word.

Jesus describes fruit-bearers as “those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart” (Luke 8:15).

Listen to scripture.
Pray through scripture.
Memorize scripture.

Be in a community group where you discuss scripture with other people. Spend time in your Bible.

If we’re not connected to God’s Word and his message, then we will bear no fruit because it’s through scripture that he teaches us, trains us, and shows us how to live a fruitful life.

Repent.

I believe the “honest and good heart” that Jesus describes is a result of regular repentance, turning to God rather than sin.

Repentance is acknowledging: I’m not God; I’m a terrible sinner; I’m in desperate need of God and his grace and mercy; I need to apologize for my sin, my folly, and the poor decisions that I make—and the decisions I don’t make, and for failing to do things I should have done.

Here are some questions to help identify areas where you may need to repent:

  • How do you reject God’s Word? Do you put it off? Ignore it?
  • When life gets difficult, where do you turn? What’s your typical response to setbacks? Do you trust God even when things aren’t perfect?
  • What things do you worship rather than God? Where do you look for happiness, identity, and meaning?
  • Are you trying to hide anything from God or other people in your life?

Repentance is God’s gift to us in a fallen world where we’ll continue to struggle. It’s a way we can enjoy his grace—Jesus died for our sin so that we don’t have to—if we are humble enough to accept it.

Persevere with patience.

Most of us aren’t farmers; we’re used to buying fruit immediately, not bearing it over months or years of careful cultivation. The culture of instant gratification does not naturally yield great fruit.

On the other hand, Jesus demonstrated great patience in his life. He did not heal everyone. He did not solve every problem. He did not eradicate sin from the world—he atoned for it, but it’s still here. Rather, Jesus patiently did what God gave him to do: he came to earth, he grew up, he lived the perfect life, and he endured the cross.

We follow Jesus, which means patience is requires of us as well. Fruit takes time, but with time God will prove faithful to make it grow.

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