Continuously throughout the New Testament we see references to “bearing fruit”. Jesus not only commanded us to bear fruit but He warned us that any tree which does not bear fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire (Matt 3:10; Luke 3:9), but what does it mean to bear fruit? Paul shares with us what kind of fruit should be shown in us:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. - Galatians 5:22
We see here that the fruit comes from the Spirit. This is the first way that the Holy Spirit assists us in our quest to be a witness for Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to allow these qualities to exude from our personality. Theoretically, with the Holy Spirit inside of us, these fruits should naturally come out of us. However as long as we are on this earth we still have a carnal nature and this carnal nature has its own fruits (Galatians 5:19-21). This means we have two opposite natures battling to show themselves and often it simply comes down to a choice. We have to choose if we will allow the fruits of the Spirit to come out of us or if we will allow the fruits of our carnal nature. We must decide whether we are going to live selfish or selfless. This choice is seldom easy. Sometimes we have to choose joy when all we want to do is cry or scream, sometimes we have to choose patience when we feel like we can’t take it anymore, and sometimes we have to choose to love someone who only returns our love with hate. The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to make the right choice in each of these situations but ultimately we are still the ones who have to choose. It is up to us whether we choose the fruit of the Spirit or the fruit of the carnal nature.
As we learn to consistently show the fruit of the Spirit in our daily lives we make the first step towards fulfilling the mission that God has given us. It is these choices which lead us into a life that points people towards Jesus. This fruit will allow us to be true examples of who He is and will attract people who want to know why we are so different. In Matthew 5:6 Jesus calls us to be a light in this world and light stands out from the darkness. If we are going to be a light we need to stand out from the world, we need to be different. In a world overrun with selfishness we need to be selfless. It is the fruit of the Spirit that will allow us to truly conquer our selfish nature and to shine selflessly as Jesus called us to do.