An apple tree produces apples. A pear tree produces pears. That is the way it is in nature. This is God’s design. There is another design of God that follows this pattern, even if it is not talked about much in our day. The followers of Jesus are to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” The fruit of repentance that Jesus is talking about is not the “natural” fruit that I produce. I know this because Jesus urges me, in this verse, to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. The Greek word for “repentance” means “to turn around.” From the moment I was born I began living my life in one way, my way, but once I surrendered my life to Jesus I was called to turn around, to begin living in a wholly different way, God’s way. The fruit of my natural inclinations are described in Galatians 5.
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like… (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV)
I don’t have to work at producing this kind of fruit in my life. I don’t need a tutor to teach me how to hate, to be jealous, or how to perfect the art of selfish ambition. These, as well as all of the other descriptions of the acts of the sinful nature, come as natural to me as the production of oranges for an orange tree. Jesus knows the fruit I produce, fruit that will destroy my life as well as the lives of others–that is why He calls me to repent, to turn around, and begin to live His way.
There is another kind of fruit that is described in Galatians 5. It is fruit, not naturally produced by me or any other person, but fruit produced by the Spirit of God, through a living relationship with Jesus. This fruit is foreign to me apart from living in total dependence on Jesus each day of my life. Paul describes it this way.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)
I’ve noticed another parallel between the production of fruit from trees and the fruit produced through the Spirit in our lives. An pomegranate tree doesn’t produce fruit for its own enjoyment, but it produces fruit for the enjoyment, for the blessing of others. I want my life to be a blessing to others. I want my life to bring glory and honor to God.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You would work in me to produce fruit that will bless others and bring glory and honor to Your name. Lord, let me walk in Your ways and never turn back to my way of doing life.