A simple glance at a garden, forest or lawn gives evidence that all flowers and trees are not the same. What is in the seed of the plant is what will come out as it matures.
We know, for example, that it is futile to ask a date palm or a fig tree to grow as a shrub or to bloom as a rose.
We can identify the plant by its fruit. Every farmer knows this, and even those of us who are from the city know this is true.
It was true 2000 years ago, too. See, for example, Scripture in the Book of James where the writer talks about the consistency between the seed and the fruit in James 3:9-12 [ESV] just after speaking of the difficulty of taming the tongue:
With it [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
In other words, what is inside the plant determines what the outer growth will be. In like manner, what is in my heart and soul will determine what my actions will be.
Thus, I need to consider my words and actions in light of my assertion that I am a believer in Jesus Christ and that I have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Non-believers will be evaluating me at every moment … what kind of affect does this Jesus have on my life? Are my words loving or are they cutting? Are they affirming or are they hurtful? Am I building up or tearing down?
When I curse or say unkind things to others, I think “Where did that come from?” Scripture would answer that question by saying “It is from sin”. We still will sin because we are not our Lord. Even the Apostle Paul said:
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
Romans 7:15 [ESV]
But, the good news is that Jesus conquered the disease of sin that infected each person since Adam’s fall when He died on the cross to take our punishment and to cover us in His righteousness before His Father, the Holy God of Scripture. Therefore, as believers in Jesus Christ, our old sin nature no longer holds control over us. In short, we are able to, and we should be, exhibiting Jesus’ nature.
The Apostle Paul tells us that the evidence of our being new creatures in Christ is the growth of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
These qualities have their source in the Holy Spirit and, while their names are common, the characteristics that should be evident in the Christian by virtue of the Holy Spirit residing in her heart are anything but common.
So, when people hear me speaking, do they hear tantrums and outbursts or do they hear the voice of Jesus? When I interact with others in a commercial setting, do they hear anger and fury because of some delay which was unavoidable or do they see Jesus’ patience when He dealt with people who could not understand, even showing patience with those who actively rejected His words?
In short, the question is whether I, as a believer in Christ, exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, i.e., characteristics of His Spirit given to us by the Holy Spirit, as I live my life before others around me? We should be striving for living a life consistent with the characteristics of Jesus Christ as He gives us the grace to so do through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I know that I have to confess my sin for refusing to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance and for denying my Lord by my actions before others. What about you?
Father, forgive me when I have ignored your Spirit and have acted and spoken in ways that undermined my witness for my Lord and Savior. I pray that I would keep my eyes focused on you, and that I would reflect Jesus Christ to those around me. I ask that the fruit of the Spirit would grow and be evident in my life, so that You will be honored and glorified in all things.