During my study of fruits, one thing I wanted to learn was how I can purpose to produce good fruits in my life. I wanted biblically sound principles that I could apply on a consistent basis because if God said it, then it must work! I touch on 8 below. (This is the second part of the Good Fruit series, if you would like part one or three the links are listed at the bottom of the page.)
1. Abide in God. (John 15:4-5) This scripture says that we must abide in Christ because apart from him we can do nothing and bear no fruit. The definition of abide is to remain, to rest or to stay. For me, this looks like constantly praying to God, considering what He would want me to do and say and spending time with Him. What does it mean to you to abide in God? I would encourage reading John 15:1-17 (ESV)
2. Cut down the things in your life that aren’t producing good fruit. (Matthew 7:19) In Matthew it tells us that every tree not yielding good fruit is cut down and is cast to fire. That to me is scary as heck! In John 15 we saw that Jesus tells us that every branch that does not bear fruit is pruned. Pruning or trimming (a tree, shrub, or bush) is done by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth. The reason for trimming back branches is that if they aren’t trimmed they can actually compete with other branches or stems trying to grow! If we look at it biblically what’s bad within our hearts is competing with the good to take root and develop in our lives, it is up to us to decide what wins. Take an inventory of all the characteristics that you think may need to be trimmed from your life, sinning in anger, envy fornication, idolatry and write out scripture verses on these issues to study.
3. Hear the word, understand and retain it. (Matthew 13:23) For me hearing the word is not the issue, but always understanding and retaining what I’ve read is a feat. Many times I’m like the tiny seed that landed in a bushel of thorns struggling to make my way to good soil. We are blessed that we have the Holy Spirit that enlightens and a God that knows we will struggle to bloom and in doing so we may fail to produce good fruit. But as we continue to try by studying and pursuing Him we will produce fruit in abundance! One way I retain the word is through writing, sometimes I’ll rewrite a verse over and over and other times I write it on notecards to study. I highly recommend reading the entire 13th chapter of Matthew. How do we obtain hearing (Romans 10:17)
4. Seek wisdom from above. (James 3:17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. This verse tells us that there is wisdom that comes from God and it is full of good fruits amongst other desired qualities. So how do you receive wisdom from above? Through the word of God and by asking for it. Through asking God gives us wisdom abundantly and without reproach James 1:5. Where else can we receive wisdom (James 3:15-16)?
5. Plant seeds in good ground. (Luke 8:8) In the early years of a tree’s life it’s important to a strong foundation so that it can grow and bear the weight of the fruit it will produce. The same goes for us, whatever we decide to do it’s always best to be rooted in God, prior to starting a ministry, relationship, your day or any type of endeavor. This verse tells us to make sure we have planted in a good strong foundation so that at the first sign of troubles our faith won’t simply wither away be trampled upon or devoured. I would recommend reading the entire chapter of Luke 8. It tells us that if we have no root we may believe for a while but in times of temptation we fall away or are consumed with worldly riches and pleasures, in doing so there is no fruit brought forth. It may take months and many times years to build the foundation, but our foundation should be Jesus (1 Corinthians 3:10) What is the foundation that has already been laid for us to build upon? How will our foundations be tested? Click here to learn how the word fire is often times used in the bible.
6. Have patience with your self (Luke 8:15) You may find yourself learning the same lessons over and over. Sometimes growth can be quite monotonous. Don’t get frustrated if there are mistakes or character traits you have grown accustomed to exhibiting just know that the fact that you’re even aware of it and want to change is progress in itself! In Luke 8:15 it tells us that the seeds planted on good ground bring forth fruit with patience. In the YLT it states that those seeds sown on good ground bear fruit in continuance, meaning they are continually exhibiting good fruits in their lives. It is something that’s continual, so you will get many opportunities to produce good fruit! Don’t compare your growth journey to anyone else’s you are on your own track. Relax, but keep pressing on and remember some fruit trees can take up to five years to grow!
7. Be Honest. (Luke 8:15) There’s a lot that can be pulled out of this one scripture. Having an honest and good heart is something else Luke tells us is necessary to producing good fruit in our lives. Have you ever lied and then though to yourself, why did I just lie about that? It was something so insignificant that you can’t even figure out why you didn’t just say what you felt or meant, but before you even have a chance to think about it, the lie just rolls off your tongue? I have and even these little white lies should feel convicting because they are hindering our production of good fruit. No one is perfect and I thank God for understanding that, mistakes will be made but so will progress when you decide to mature in your actions. Can you remember the last lie you told, why did you feel the need to lie? What do you think you can do to be more honest with yourself and others?
8. Have no fellowship with darkness (Ephesians 5:11 & Psalm 1:1-6) As followers of Christ we are to reprove anothers dark ways or as the YLT states convict and bring to light their ways. The definition of reprove is to correct or criticize in a gentle manner. Ephesians 4:15 tells us that we are to speak the truth in love, so there’s no need to be harsh or abrasive when calling someone out. We don’t have to indulge in darkness to try to pull someone out, because just through living our your walk with God others can see what it means to be a light in the world.
Part Three: The evidence of good fruit