WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JUNE 13, 2021
TOPIC: BE A FRUITFUL CHRISTIAN
BY T. O. BANSO
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23 New King James Version).
Fruit-bearing is an essential component of following Jesus. Jesus expects this of His followers. A life of spiritual barrenness is not consistent and compatible with following Jesus, and it does not glorify God. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8 New King James Version).
The fruit referred to is the quality of your behavior, the quality of your deeds. Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (New Living Translation). Your behavior will show whether you are a disciple of Jesus or not. For instance, walking in love or not. “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 New Living Translation).
Paul also stressed this truth about the fruit-bearing and righteous character expected of a disciple of Christ: “I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation — those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ — for this will bring much glory and praise to God” (Philippians 1:9-11 New Living Translation).
Christianity is about fruitfulness. And if you are following Jesus, it will show in the fruit you are bearing, your character, or your behaviour. Referring to the false prophets, Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:16-20 New King James Version).
Are you behaving like a Christian or like a sinner? John the Baptist told many of the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to his baptism to bear fruits worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:7-8). The lives of those who believe in Jesus Christ should manifest the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (New King James Version). The fruit of the Spirit describes the character of God that the Holy Spirit produces in his life as he cooperates with the Holy Spirit.
Significantly, nine virtues are listed, yet they are described in the singular as fruit, and not in the plural as fruits. I like to refer to the fruit of the Spirit as a nine-fold fruit; none of the nine is optional. They all must be in our lives. You cannot desire some and forsake the others.
These virtues are the character of God that the Holy Spirit works out in our lives as we co-operate with Him. No child of God can bear the fruit of the Spirit on his own but in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. How many of these virtues are in your life now? How much of each has been produced in your life in cooperation with the Holy Spirit?
The New Living Translation presents Galatians 5:22-23 thus: “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.”
Similarly, the Good News Translation says, “But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these.”
The Amplified Bible puts it this way: “But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
The apostle Paul continues in verses 24-26 of Galatians 5 by saying, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (New King James Version).
As a child of God, there should be a difference between your character while you were a sinner and now that you’re a Christian. Your Christlike character will show when you bear the fruit of the Spirit. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10 New King James Version).
The vineyard the Bible talks about in Isaiah 5:1-7 bore fruits, but they were wild grapes. The Hebrew word for wild grapes is be’ushiym and it means stinking or worthless things, wild grapes, stink berries. They were bad grapes. “Now let me sing to my Well-beloved a song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard on a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, and also made a winepress in it; so He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes” (Isaiah 5:1-2 New King James Version). God expects you to bear good grapes, not wild grapes. The fruit of the Spirit is good.
The vineyard is a metaphor for the Israelites and, indeed, the children of God. Isaiah 5:and 7 states this very clearly: “For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help” (New King James Version).
Don’t be a bad tree that produces wild grapes. Don’t let your life be a disappointment to God that when He expects good fruits in your life, He finds wild grapes or no good fruit. Jesus spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down’” (Luke 13:6-9 New King James Version). This fig tree was unfruitful.
Also, in Matthew 21:18-19, the fig tree was unfruitful. The passage says, “Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, ‘Let no fruit grow on you ever again.’ Immediately the fig tree withered away” (New King James Version). Jesus cursed this fig tree. The Lord will not find you unfruitful. The fruit of the Holy Spirit shall be produced in your life in Jesus’ name.
The fig tree in Matthew 21:18-19 looked good but when Jesus got to it, it had only leaves but no fruit. The fig tree with leaves but no fruit is just like merely looking good but bearing no fruit. Don’t just look good; do good.
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:1-2 New King James Version).
To be fruitful and continue to be fruitful, you must remain in Christ, obeying His word. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (verses 4-5 New King James Version). For you to be fruitful, you must abide in Him and His Word must abide in you.
If you’re following Jesus, He expects that your life will manifest the fruit of the Spirit. The more you cooperate with the Holy Spirit, the more the manifestation of this fruit shall be produced in your life.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to remain in Christ, obeying His word so that I can be fruitful and continue to be fruitful. I shall not be like the fig tree with leaves but without fruits; I shall be fruitful in Jesus’ name. I shall not be like the vineyard that produced wild grapes; the fruit of the Holy Spirit shall be evident in my life in Jesus’ name.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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