In the previous post I wrote about the role of “spiritual fruit” in the believer’s life. Fruit is a result of new life in Christ, by the Spirit, not a means of earning that new life.
This time, we’ll see that spiritual fruit comes in all shapes and sizes:
1) Spiritual fruit consists of moral virtues such as righteousness, love, joy, peace, etc. (Gal 5:22; Phil 1:11; Heb 12:11, James 3:17). Our lives are fruitful when they are saturated with Christlike attitudes and postures towards others.
2) Spiritual fruit is aligned with “light” and contrasted with “the unfruitful deeds of darkness,” which is behavior that characterizes “pagans,” or those who have no knowledge of the true and living God (Eph 5:8-11). The idea here is that spiritual fruit looks like lifestyle habits that reflect the holiness of God and our identity as his holy people.
3) Spiritual fruit is expressed through specific acts of “good works” (Col 1:10, Titus 3:14), such as acts of service, hospitality, or generosity.
4) Spiritual fruit is observed when we promote social justice and righteousness rather than bloodshed and oppression (Isaiah 5:4, 7). This involves protecting the rights and meeting the needs of the overlooked and powerless.
5) Spiritual fruit is associated with making disciples. This is the best interpretation of John 15:16, where Jesus tells his disciples that he appointed them to bear fruit that will last (see the related idea of the gospel “bearing fruit and growing in all the world” in Col 1:6).
6) Ultimately, any productive or constructive endeavor can fall under the umbrella of spiritual fruit, as suggested by the creation mandate of Genesis 1:26-28 (“Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish . . . the birds. . . the animals” – NLT). When Christians are united with Christ and are empowered by the Spirit, we can help fulfill this original vision of implementing God’s creative and benevolent reign in the earth through both our church ministries and our vocational callings.