Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Does this verse describe you? Does it sound like your average day? Because it doesn’t always describe me or my day. Bearing good fruit sounds fantastic. Who wouldn’t want that life?
But bearing good fruit can also feel like an impossible task. I mean, no one’s perfect, am I right?
The good news is that unlike my commitment to stop eating so much Ben & Jerry’s (Spoiler alert: I haven’t stopped.), this commitment doesn’t rest on our willpower alone.
It’s the Holy Spirit within us that bears fruit, and not us on our own efforts. That means that rather than going through the motions that give the appearance of fruit, we can focus on simply growing closer to God. Bearing good fruit will be the natural aftermath.
Bearing Good Fruit Through Growing Closer to God
So how can we grow closer to God and start bearing more fruit?
- First, walk in obedience. In John 14:15, Jesus instructs us, “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you.” We cannot deliberately disobey God and expect to bear fruit. I don’t usually go out murdering and stealing from people. But I have thought some pretty terrible things about others, and lost my patience more times than I can count. We are incapable of attaining perfection, but we’re completely capable of continuously striving to honor God with our lives. Luckily, God has sent the Holy Spirit to help us. “I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth….But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!” (John 14:16-17)
- Second, consistently read God’s word. In Psalm 119:11, David says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” The more you read and think on something, the deeper it will root in your heart. This isn’t just a spiritual concept, but a scientific concept as well. The more we think a certain way, the deeper and wider those neural pathways become in our brain. So if we’re constantly thinking negatively, we’ll deepen that neural pathway until our brain begins to default to negative thought patterns. If we’re constantly filling our minds with God’s words, we’ll begin to default to his truths. We’ll begin to see life and the world as God does. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that “every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” If you’re having trouble establishing or sticking with a daily Bible devotional time, check out this post for some practical tips! Or for a little more guidance, check out The 40 Best Devotionals for Women!
- Third, hear God’s word in church. There are a million reasons not to attend church. I’m a firm believer that all of those reasons should be pushed aside in our pursuit of spiritual growth. (For a deeper dive, check out Why Should I Go to Church?) Regularly attending a church that is teaching biblical truths will only further open you up to hearing, understanding, and applying God’s truths to your life.
- Fourth, surround yourself with people who are also pursuing God. A second benefit to attending church is that it makes it easier to connect with other believers. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.” I’ve found this to be true in my own life. When I spend time with friends that gossip and create drama, I find myself feeding into the drama. When I spend time with others that are also pursuing God, I walk away feeling encouraged and enriched. Don’t allow other people to hinder you from growing and bearing good fruit.
- Fifth, pray regularly, being careful that your prayers aren’t all centered on you. Our generation often pursues selfish faith. And why wouldn’t we? It feels incredible when every message at church is about our destiny and victory! And how could you not love it when every worship song is about how much God loves us?! Our prayers can often follow this pattern, focusing on our needs, requests, and complaints. But prayer was never meant to be this way. Jesus provided us with the example of the Lord’s prayer. And while the King James version mostly reminds me of my grandparents’ church, the Message version helps me to more clearly see that it’s not actually about me: “Our Father in heaven, reveal who you are. Set the world right; do what’s best—as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes, yes, yes. (Matthew 6:9-13)” Our prayers should be focused on God’s will, not our own, and his purposes in the entire world, not just in our own small circle. That’s not to say that your individual struggles and needs shouldn’t be brought to God in prayer, but that your prayers should also regularly expand beyond those requests.
- And finally, set spiritual goals. Do you have a goal weight? I bet you do! What’s your goal with your faith? Research has found those who set goals are over ten times more likely to have reached their goals within six months than those who set no goals at all. If we’re not in a purposeful pursuit of spiritual growth, the chances aren’t great that we’ll grow by chance. Your goal might be to commit to reading the Bible for at least 10 minutes a day. Or maybe your next step is to join a small group at your church to connect with other believers. Wherever you are in your walk with Christ, set a goal and make a plan to reach it! If you’d like some extra help creating and sticking with a positive new habit, then check out Create a Habit That Sticks.
Wrap It Up
Bearing good fruit is the aftermath of growing closer to God. We can achieve this through walking in obedience, reading God’s word, hearing it at church, and surrounding ourselves with believers. We should also pray regularly and set spiritual goals and plans to reach them.
You are completely capable of bearing good fruit every day of your life. In fact, God has called us to bear fruit, and has promised to help us do it! And as Romans 8:31 says, “With God on our side like this, how can we lose?”
P.S. Struggling to bear fruit in the valley? Our new 21-day devotional is refreshingly honest, down-to-earth, and speaks to the heart of the matter—how can we reconcile our trials with our faith? Check it out here!
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