If you grew up in Vabcation Bible School or attended Sunday school regularly as a child, chance are, you probably sat through a lesson about bearing the “fruits of the Spirit”, in which you were asked to color and cut out cute little images of apples, pears, and oranges. Even if you did not have this ever-so-cool educational experience, you may have come across the Galatians passage in which Paul admonishes this mislead group of people (the Galatians) on what a Christ-led life really looks like.
Jesus said that you know a tree by the fruit it bears (Matthew 7:18). When there is fruit, there is no question as to the seed. The things that get into your heart will also determine your fruit. Proverbs 4:23 says that you should guard your heart because “out of it flows the issues of life.”
So what about your fruit is testifying about the condition of your heart? When we are grafted into the vine, we produce the fruit of the vine. According to Galations 6:22, the fruit of the vine of Christ is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (I made them colorful because they are fruit!).
Verse 19 of the same chapter names the fruit of the flesh: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Paul goes on to say in verse 21 that no one practicing such things will inherit the kingdom of God.
The point of knowing the fruits of the Spirit is not to create some long religious behavior modification check list, but rather to help us examine ourselves and shoot straight to the heart of our spiritual problems: That we need to love God more and our worldly lives less. The tighter we hold onto the things of this world for the reasons of this world, the less we can bear the fruit of the Spirit.
And we cannot fake our fruit. One cannot merely contrive love if love is not in the heart. Neither can this be done for any of the other fruits. Rather, understanding what our fruits should look like help us measure ourselves so that we can seek God and righteousness more, allowing Him to create in us cleaner hearts.
God bless you.