what is the fruit?

One of our teachers at church, Shalini, has talked about testing what is good and of God in our lives by noting what fruit it produces. She was referring to the fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians, in contrast to the works of the flesh. She found it a salutary exercise.

Reflecting on what she said, I began to note its relevance to my own life. When something pushed me over the edge so that my response was not a good one, I realized that something was wrong. Certainly something with me. But maybe also with what I was responding to. This I found to be especially relevant to what had become patterns in my life.

The devil would point his finger at all of us in Jesus in an accusatory way, and many times  he would be right that we have sinned in a matter. But of course wrong in his condemnation of us who are in Jesus. One day I was greatly troubled over something and prayed over and over again so as to make sure I really was praying it, and meant it. In the words of the psalmist that God would indeed search my heart, know my anxious thoughts and see if there is any offensive way in me (in the sense of plumbing the depths of my heart and life, a prayer asking for God’s convicting work so we can confess, be forgiven and cleansed from our sin) and lead me in the way everlasting. This took time, and I didn’t want to let it go until I had received an answer from God. At first I seemed to conceptualize that I was in the wrong, and perhaps an inkling toward what I might do. But it became clear to me that I was in the clear, by the forgiving, cleansing grace of God in Jesus. And that I needed to live in joy, and in the Spirit. Not in anxiety over what someone else, or others might think of me.

So this goes on as an important insight, indeed revelation to me. To go on testing everything by the fruit it bears in my life and in the life of others around me. To be ever open to God’s leading. And to seek to live by the Spirit in the grace and love of God in Jesus.

Any words you would like to share on this from your own life or thoughts?

5 comments on “what is the fruit?

  1. Mike Noorman says:

    Good stuff. . .fruit and grace. I find that although I can relax into God’s grace, I have a much harder time extending grace to myself. . .

    • Thanks, Mike. Yes. I guess we just have to learn to accept that grace from God regardless. It is hard sometimes for me too when I’m down or under more than usual stress. But yes, I’ve spent lots of time beating up on myself, particularly in the past. I’ve come a long way on that score. Beating up on myself is certainly a work of the flesh. Surely the fruit of the Spirit is extended to us, as well as to others. After all, we’re to love others as we love ourself.

  2. Deb Gossard says:

    Always good to see growth in a persons life in regards to walking in the spirit opposed to living in the flesh. An ongoing exercise in our walk of faith.

  3. […] site). Derek Leman has a nice collection of links for Passover. Mother knows best … (HT: JT) Ted Gossard on testing by the fruit. David Opderbeck’s post at our site drew a response from Jay […]

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