Fruit (Day 2)

Fruit farming is hard thing to do. Even though I don’t have much experience I have watched enough food oriented television to know that there is a long process from seed to table. All throughout the process is an inspection system that examines each piece thoroughly to make sure it is fit and worth selling for other to eat. If a piece is not so good it is sent to a donation center. If it is really not good it is discarded because at that point nothing else can be done with it except possibly composting.

Here is the tricky part: fruit can look good on the outside and be rotten on the inside. Anyone who has bitten into a rotten apple that looked juicy and delicious has quickly learned this truth. The only way to know for sure if a piece of fruit is truly rotten or fully mature is to look inside of it. The outside can be pleasing but the inside could be full of decay. The only way to know the truth is to see the inside of the fruit.

The same can be said of spiritual fruit. It must be examined to ensure that what is being produced is worthwhile. Otherwise it is not good for much. Let me share an example from my own personal life. As a young musician who was starting to do music in church I was always interested in playing the blazing guitar solos or making the music as complicated as possible. I felt that if I was showing off then I was displaying my talents for God’s glory better.

But on one occasion we played a show and I performed one of the simplest songs. It was not difficult to play and the words were very easy to learn. What happened when we played that song was amazing: the entire congregation stood and sang along. We were there to perform but it turned into a worship service. I was amazed and humbled that God chose to use what little talent I have to move his Spirit in such a mighty way that people were touched and God was able to change lives.

After that night I had to look deep into my heart and ask why I was playing music. Was it to get praise for myself or to help others to praise God with song? Was it to make myself look good or to seek God’s desire to reach those who need his salvation? I had to inspect my spiritual fruit and see if it was useful or rotten. I had to look inside to see the true desire of my heart and not just the outside show. My heart changed to realize that performance was not about showing off but about bringing people an opportunity to draw nearer to God.

Paul taught this same truth about spiritual fruit in his letter to the Galatian church. He set a very clear comparison to what comes from following after our selfish desires as opposed to what the Holy Spirit causes in our lives. Take a minute to read Galatians chapter 5. Now that you have done that let’s look at a more specific portion:

Galatians 5 (NLT)

[19] When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, [20] idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, [21] envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

[22] But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Yesterday I encouraged you to look at the final outcome of your actions. We realized that what we do today impacts the future and that we can always test our actions against time. But today I want us to look deeper into our hearts and see that even if the outside is pretty the inside can be rotten. We can do the right things out of a selfish heart. I did a lot of great music performing for years that I hope God used. But my heart intent was wrong. I was after my own glory and not God’s. I served to be happy with myself and not to please God.

I want you to take an inventory of the fruit of your life. Yesterday you examined the outside of the fruit of your life. Those problems are pretty obvious. But today I want you to examine the inside; the motives behind what you do. Are they selfish or are they spiritual? Are they to build yourself up or are they seeking to build the Kingdom of God?

Remember that rotten fruit is not worth keeping around. It needs to be thrown out. The same is true of the fruit in our lives. If we have a rotten intent we need to ask God to allow his Holy Spirit to change our hearts to serve out of gratitude and desire for him to have his way in our lives and the lives of others. We must learn to have good fruit both inside and out.

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