Growing in Faith and Bearing Fruit
Thursday, June 8, 2023 by Doreen Wennberg
Have you ever thought that growing in faith and bearing fruit are connected?
You might first wonder, "But what is fruit, and why is it so important?"
In scripture, the word fruit describes good works, our outward actions. Our good works are an outward expression of our love for God. We do not do them to earn his love or to earn salvation. Salvation is a gift. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV).
Good works represent deposits we make into our heavenly account - eternal fruit that lasts. Another way of saying that is our eternal treasure lasts forever in heaven. Treasure in the Bible was gold, silver, and jewels. Our bank accounts and possessions are our earthly treasures, which we cannot take with us when we die.
Eternal fruit is what we bear as we serve God; things that are done in his name to further his kingdom. Even giving a cup of cold water to one of God's children bears fruit.
But there are also inner fruits, which are the nine fruits of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the Christ-like qualities the Spirit nurtures within the believing heart.
Years ago, when wallpaper borders were a thing, I had a fruit border in the kitchen. I always knew one day I would stencil above the sink the Fruits of the Spirit verses from Galatians 5:22-23. Not only did they witness to all who entered, but I needed the reminder - every day that these fruits should be evident in our lives.
The book of Galatians 5:20 talks about acts of the flesh. Growing up in my home, discord, fits of rage, and drunkenness were the ones I saw regularly. So, for me, when I came across these Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 - peace was the one I prayed for the most. To have peace in my heart, peace in my mind, and peace in my soul. God is faithful.
So how are growing in faith and bearing fruit connected? First, let us define faith. Faith is complete trust or confidence in someone; a strong belief in God. The Bible tells us, Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1. Faith is believing in who God is and trusting in his promises even when we do not see anything happening.
But what grows our faith? Every time we exercise our faith by stepping out to trust God, our faith grows. It’s like a muscle when you exercise it, it grows. When God calls us to serve outside of our comfort zone, it takes faith to trust him.
Any time we sing on the praise team, lead a group, or serve him, it requires dependence which grows our faith.
Listening to and studying God's word grows our faith. When challenges come, we learn to lean on God which also increases our faith.
Do you see the connection? Growing faith and bearing fruit are both reliant on God.
We won’t grow in our faith if we're disconnected from Jesus; neither will a branch bear fruit if it’s not connected to the vine. We must remain in him.
Our goal as believers in Christ is to grow more like him and bear much fruit. Is that your heart also? Not only are we to have the evidence of the fruits of the Spirit growing in us, but we cannot do it apart from him.
In what ways might we be disconnecting from God? Do we allow distractions of the day, emails, phones, or social media to keep us from time spent with God? How might we be ignoring the convictions of the Holy Spirit to bring us back?
What can we do? Daily confession in prayer and repentance restores our connection with God. Ask God to show us wrong thinking, attitudes, or habits that block our relationship with him. He is faithful, and his mercies are new every morning!
Father, thank you for the truth in your word. Help us stay connected to you so that we will grow. Enable us to rely on you and not try to serve in our own strength. Remind us that we cannot do anything of lasting eternal value apart from you. Our desire is to bear much fruit for your glory. ~In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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