Many of us have good works, Christians and non-Christians. But do we have good fruit? Colossians 1:10 reads, “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work.” In other words, when I help someone, “Works,” what is my perspective, or “fruit?” Galatians 5:22 tells us, “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control.” The scriptures above show us that works and fruit are two different things. Works are the good things that I do and fruits are the evidence of the Spirit working in me.
John the Baptist and Jesus tell us what will happen if we don’t have good fruit. Jesus also tells us how to tell who is a false prophet. In Matthew 3:10 John the Baptist said, “The ax is already at the root of the trees and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” In another passage Jesus warns us to, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruits you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus by their fruit you will recognize them.”
It’s important to know that I shouldn’t just be doing good deeds, but also I should have the right perspective, or fruit. Being patient, kind and loving, having peace and joy, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control show that Jesus is working in me.
In John 15:1-5 Jesus tells us, “I am the true vine and my father is the gardener. He cuts off any branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” This scripture points out that works, or good deeds, done outside the vine, or outside Jesus are, are fruitless.
Have you ever seen a branch produce a piece of fruit laying on the ground, apart from the tree, and the roots? The branch alone doesn’t produce the fruit, the fruit is produced through the branch, just as Jesus produces fruit through us. As this example of the branch and the tree indicates, the only way that I can produce fruit is by staying in Jesus and keeping him in me.
Taking the time to examine ones self is important. If I give to someone, “works,” do I do it in love, “fruit?” If a friend also asks me for a favor and I decide to help, “works,” and is this favor done with kindness, and patience, “fruit?” Am I gentle and self-controlled in a tense situation, or do I easily lose my temper?” Am I faithful, or am I only a friend in the good times? Am I filled with joy and peace, or am I filled with uneasiness?
If I want a life filled with all of the good fruits that the scriptures tell me about, then I should spend time reading and studying my Bible, and take the time to memorize scripture. Talking to friends about what I’ve read, and letting the words become my thoughts, help to renew my mind. I like to worship God by singing songs, and as I pray, I keep in mind that Jesus is with me, listening. Stay in him and He will stay in you.