The Bible teaches us about our actions by referring to them as fruit and as followers of Jesus we need to ensure that the fruit we are producing are not produced from our sinful nature but rather from the Holy Spirit.
The metaphor of using fruit for actions I find very interesting as all fruit produces seeds, and what we say and our actions can influence and plant seeds in the hearts of the people who surround us, whether they are family or friends. (Just like the parable Jesus uses in Matthew 13 of the farmer scattering seed)
In Matthew 7:15 – 20 Jesus warns us about false prophets who disguise themselves as sheep and he informs us that we can identify them by their fruit.
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit. But a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them ” (Matthew 7:18 – 20)
In Matthew 18 Jesus is on his way back to Jerusalem and curses the fig tree for not providing him with fruit when he was hungry, surely a better solution would have been for Jesus to use his authority to tell the tree to produce fruit for him, unless this was a sign or metaphor for us about producing fruit or rather the actions we take in our lives. And that when Jesus comes back if we don’t provide any good fruit we too like the fig tree will be cursed.
Galatians 5:16 – 26 explains to us what it is in us that has the potential to produce bad fruit and that is our own sinful nature, which causes us to desires to do evil things however the Spirit in us wants the opposite and so there is this constant battle within us and it’s up to us whether we choose to obey our sinful nature or the Spirit.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleaness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kningdom of God” (Galatians 5:19 – 22)
All of the above sinful actions are bad fruits produced from a bad tree and these fruits have the potential to influence others in our lives and plant bad seeds in people’s hearts, which in themselves have the potential to grow and produce even more bad fruit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22 – 23)
Any other influence producing fruit that doesn’t reflect on all of these qualities above is not from the true Holy Spirit, hence Jesus informing us in Matthew 7:15 that we can identify a false prophet from their fruits.
For example the last church I attended quite simply threw any self-control they had out of the window, and as soon as I was mature enough in Gods word to understand how to identify false prophets and teachings by their fruit, I was out of there.
So all actions produced out of these 9 qualities are good fruit and only good trees produce good fruit. The Holy Spirit guides us to produce good fruit through giving to us and helping to develop these qualities. All genuine Christians should have these qualities as part of their personality and therefore produce good fruit in their life.
“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:24-26)
To truly follow Jesus Christ we are to sacrifice our sinful nature and the bad fruits it produces. To do this we need to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and take on the qualities the Holy Spirit offers us in order to produce good fruit, for all our actions come from our heart.