A few years ago, Activated published a special series on what Paul in his letter to the Galatians called the fruit of the Spirit.1 One issue was published for each of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It occurred to us that we hadn’t explored the concept of fruit itself, and this issue will be devoted to that topic.
The Bible refers to literal fruit—such as olives, grapes, and figs—many times. Along with that, the word fruit is often used metaphorically to describe a person’s outward actions, results, and accomplishments.
During His last night of liberty with His disciples at the Last Supper, Jesus commissioned them to bring forth fruit: “You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last.”2 How does a Christian bear fruit? Essentially, by growing in the likeness of Jesus—in other words, by becoming more like Jesus—and by spreading His kingdom on earth, in word and in deed.
That’s quite a challenge, but Jesus doesn’t leave us alone with the task. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. A branch draws strength, nourishment, protection, and energy from the vine, and as His followers, when we stay connected to Him, spiritual fruit will become manifest in our lives, in our character, and in our priorities. As we spend time with Jesus and get to know Him better, we grow in His likeness, His purpose becomes our purpose, and we are compelled to put our faith into action.