"Bearing fruit" is a phrase used to describe the outward actions that result from the inward condition of a person's heart. Galatians 5:16–24 contrasts the works, or fruit, of the flesh with those of the Holy Spirit. In our sinful nature, we bear things such as idolatry, jealousy, dissensions, and fits of anger. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…" As Christians, we want to bear fruit in keeping with our relationship with God. We seek to do things outwardly that demonstrate that we have been made new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). So what is the key to bearing godly fruit?
What is meant by bearing fruit? How can a Christian bear fruit?
Jesus summarized the answer to this question in John 15:4–5: "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." Bearing fruit in the Christian life requires abiding in Jesus.
When we are connected and intentional about our relationship with God, we produce the fruit God cultivates within us. It is God who does the work in us; our fruit-bearing is simply a result of what He does. Jesus said, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…" (John 15:16). Ephesians 2:8–10 has a similar message. Second Corinthians 3:18 talks about us being transformed into the image of Christ. As the Holy Spirit sanctifies us, we become more Christlike; we bear fruit.
How do we build our relationship with God? We do things like spend time in the Word of God (the Bible); pray and listen; worship God alone and with others; fast; and give our time, treasure, and talents. These are some of the things we do. Some of the things we do not do, as to avoid poisoning the relationship from our end, include avoiding the lusts of the flesh described in Galatians 5:19–21. In short, we actively pursue God and flee from that which is sinful.
To be sure, our focus as Christians is not the fruit we produce, but the connection we have with God. When we focus on our outward Christian life, we can become wrapped up in pretense. It is all too easy to live a Christian routine apart from any genuine connection to God. We can fall into the trap of putting on a holy façade without experiencing real heart transformation. In that case, the fruit we bear is our own, not that of the Holy Spirit, and our hearts are actually lacking Christ's love.
Bearing fruit in the Christian life is not about doing works or attempting righteousness in our own strength. Rather, it is about intentionally growing in our walk with Christ, inviting the Holy Spirit's work of transformation in us, and actively obeying God in all He calls us to do. As we seek Him and lay down our own fleshly desires for His better ways, we will bear lasting fruit and serve as salt and light to a world in need of Jesus (Matthew 5:13–16).
What is meant by being a fruitful Christian?
What is the fruit of the Spirit?
In what way is love a fruit of the Holy Spirit?
In what way is joy a fruit of the Holy Spirit?
In what way is peace a fruit of the Holy Spirit?
Truth about the Christian Life