We are known by what we produce! Jesus made this crystal clear when He emphatically declared, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matt. 7:18,20). In similar manner, James made mention of how impossible it is to produce a substance from which we have no origin. Rhetorically, he asked, “Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?” (James 3:12). Of course, the answer is irrefutably no! The seed is never disconnected from the fruit it bears, and the fruit will always be in partnership with the seed it carries.
I really like gardening. In fact, spring is one of my favorites seasons for that very reason. When I’m shopping for seeds to plant, I never purchase cucumber seeds, hoping they will produce beautiful, ripe tomatoes. And I never purchase zucchini seeds and hope they will produce bright, yellow crookneck squash. I want the production to be in sync with the seed!
When I start plants inside my home, I place the seeds in little soil pellets. Usually, I will label each pellet so that I know what to expect in production. Occasionally though, the label will fall from the pellet and I am left wondering what seed was planted deeply within the pellet. And so, I have to wait. Within weeks I see the emergence of tender leaves, and not long after that, I am able to identify the origin of the plant. The seed is finally made apparent.
When believers live in union with Christ Jesus, we bear good fruit. Our good fruit is the evidence that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We produce good works of righteousness because we are in partnership with the Vine (Christ).
Recently, I heard Dr. Tony Evans (Pastor and Bible teacher) remark that good works are not synonymous with good things. This is important to know, because many people (including some Christians) believe that all “good” is created equal. But the difference lies in the motivation. Dr. Evans notes that good works are those which are biblically consistent, bring glory to God, and advance the kingdom of God while edifying the body of Christ. This is impossible unless the Spirit abides in us.
A seed is planted in fertile ground, and after a while, it produces a great harvest. From one tiny seed sown a bountiful harvest may be reaped.
But what is required of us?
We must be willing participants in the process.
The Holy Spirit does the work in us, and we are responsible for making ourselves available. Daily, we must subject ourselves to the leading and the authority of the Holy Spirit. Daily, we must engage and renew our mind with the Word of God. And daily, we must take up His cause and carry our own cross in the sometimes arduous task of doing His will. Suffice it to say, it’s an unencumbered, longstanding bend in His direction for the free-flowing production of the fruit and good works that will bring glory to God.
This can be troubling for some people.
Too many times we want the production, but we shun the process. We want gain, but we forgo His guidance. We want the harvest, and we want it in haste. We must be patient as the Spirit of God works in us to produce a beautiful bloom from the implanted seed. A good seed will be synchronized to good works!
We were created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10). When we surrender our will to the Lord, the fruit of Spirit will be evident in the consistent pattern of good works we display for Christ’s sake and God’s glory (Titus 2:7; 1 Tim. 5:25).