Mighty Fine Fruit

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mandarin orangesDo you like Mandarin oranges?

I love Mandarin oranges. They have been an important part of our family Christmas tradition for decades.

Do you remember when you were a kid and they would come in those little wooden crates, each orange wrapped in paper?  I used to make parkades for my Hot Wheels out of the crates. I can still feel the roughness of the wood and those little nails that held it all together in the annuls of my mind.

Our Christmas stockings would always have an orange in the toe. After eating through the other goodies in my stocking it was always good to dig into that Mandarin orange to wash it all down. And, you always had to peel it in one peel.

Back then my dad used to call them Jap oranges, which of course I did for years until I realized that it was a bit of a derogatory term. Now they are called Mandarin oranges and we seem to be able to get them all year round and not just at Christmas. And I am very glad we get access to this delicious little fruit 12 months of the year.

Mandarin oranges have to rank right up there with some of my favourite fruit. Strawberries, cherries, watermelon, mandarin oranges, raspberries, bananas, grapes – man, there are so many mighty fine fruits out there. Anne bought a bunch of Mandarin oranges this week and it got me thinking about fruit, as I just happened to be reading John 15 where Jesus talks about being fruitful.

In fact, scripture speaks a lot about fruit and fruitfulness. Healthy followers of Jesus “bear fruit”, they “produce fruit” and are said to be “fruitful”. Jesus said that He chose us so that we would produce fruit – fruit that will last.

So what does that mean? What does it mean to bear fruit in our lives?

I think it is helpful to remind ourselves about the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Paul tells us in Galatians 5 that this is the “fruit” of the Spirit in our lives. The evidence of the Spirit of God in our lives is demonstrated by the aforementioned list.

Is your life full of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?

Obviously those qualities are meant to be demonstrated by our actions. So how do we ensure our lives bear fruit – the fruit of the Spirit?

Jesus said that unless we abide in Him – unless we remain in Him – we cannot bear fruit. He also said that it glorifies God when we bear much fruit. It’s in this way that we show we are followers of Jesus. So the only way that we can bear fruit that demonstrates we are followers of Jesus is to walk closely with Him. To abide in Him. To live in and through Him. To stay plugged into Him. To remain in Him.

Remember, He is divine and we are de branch. The only way we can produce fruit is to stay in Him.

We must make a daily, and moment by moment, decision to walk in dependence on Jesus – to draw our life from Him. To surrender and submit to Him. To get out of the driver’s seat and give Him the keys to our life. To live a life of humility and repentance continuing to move forward and lay aside the sin that entangles us to pursue Him and His life in us and through us. And, continue to ask the Holy Spirit to fill us and transform us.

It is interesting to note that in Acts 6 the apostles chose men to serve who were “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit”. That suggests to me that we are not necessarily full of the Spirit – so I keep asking to be filled up with the Spirit, because I am pretty sure that I leak.

So, how do we bear fruit, glorify God and demonstrate that we are followers of Jesus? By living in love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. How do we do that? By continually walking in surrendered relationship with Jesus and asking Him to fill us with the Holy Spirit.

In this way I trust we can start to bear some might fine fruit in our lives.

John 15:4

“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.”

John 15:8

“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Matthew 7:19, 20

“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

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An Invitation to Live in God-breathed Wholeheartedness.