If Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches, it leads to the supposition that the forthcoming fruit originates in God and grows through us, as Christ followers. John 15:1-8 Those of us who have come before God to admit our failures, confess our sins and accept his forgiveness have been given a new clean heart and a new standing in His eyes. We are now a part of His forever family and have been grafted into His spiritual vine for growth and nourishment. At some point, this vine will bear fruit, meaning our lives will exhibit on the outside, the change made on the inside. How’s that gonna look? He’s given us a pretty good idea. Let’s take a peek together.
Our potential crop of fruit consists of three types. I’m not talking about sugar wise, but rather relationship wise. They fall in the same predicable categories as our life focus should be: Jesus, Others, Yourself (JOY). Paul says it like this in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (NAS) Notice that none of these qualities direct others towards us, but rather promote unity among believers.
The first three have their start in our relationship with Jesus. Love, joy and peace is what the world is eagerly seeking, but the secret they often overlook is that they are found ONLY in Jesus. Perfect unconditional love can only come from God. Joy, which does not depend upon circumstances, is found because we know Who is in control and has a plan for our life. Peace is based on a right relationship with God, after confession and forgiveness. Notice in this first set, each quality has one syllable. (Handy fact if you’re trying to memorize.)
The second three are exhibited in our relationships with others. Patience, kindness and goodness will help all our social interactions soar! Patience is the ability to stay calm when we are feeling attacked or at the end of your rope. Kindness is simply doing something to make someone else feel treasured or put their needs first, whether we know them or not. Goodness includes doing something that will benefit someone else. In this second set, each quality has two syllables.
The third three are interpersonal qualities or ones that have to do with yourself growing. Faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are perhaps the hardest to attain because they is require the greatest change of our selfish nature. Faithfulness is more commonly referred to as being dependable or loyal in our actions toward God and others. Gentleness involves willing deference to God and promotion of others instead of elevating ourselves. Self-control is the last and most challenging to master, the ability to keep our desires and emotions in check. If you’re keeping track, in this last set, you guessed it, each quality has three syllables. Interesting, huh?
There they are, the nine Fruits of the Spirit, which will become evident in our lives as we follow and grow in our relationship with Jesus. Look for them in your own actions and acknowledge them in your kids when you see them. “I saw how you showed kindness to that little boy at the playground who fell and needed help getting to his mom.” That affirmation will go a long way as they begin to see how God is changing them from the inside out! As parents, there is great joy in seeing your child embrace the character of God humbly. I pray your branch will have years of bumper harvests ahead of you as you discover the fruit grows on God’s vine!
Which fruits are easier to see in others? How do these fruits show themselves differently in adults and children?