Often when I’m doing evangelism I ask people if they’re a Christian; 9 times out of 10 they say yes. So then I ask them why. At that point I get all kinds of answers: “Because I’m trying to be a good person… Because I believe in God… Because I go to church, sometimes… Because I pray, sometimes… Because I read my Bible, sometimes… Because I… Because I… Because I…”

Rarely, if ever, do people tell me about what God has done in their life. But listen to how Paul talks about such things. After pointing out the deeds of the flesh, and how those caught up in such things are not Christians, he says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24 ESV). In other words, those who belong to Jesus (Christians) are—by God’s grace—actively turning from their sin, putting their sinful passions and desires to death, and following Jesus. And this is the fruit of the Holy Spirit; God has done and is doing a work in and through His people that they themselves can’t do.

The Spirit produces fruit in the life of every true Christian. He produces the fruit of love, causing us to truly love Jesus, and to love people like Jesus. He produces the fruit of joy, giving us the joy of Christ, and enabling us to be a truly joyful people. He produces the fruit of peace, giving us the peace that comes from the gospel, and He makes us peacemakers. And He does the same with patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; it’s a package deal actually—it’s fruit, not fruits. And this fruit shows itself in our relationship with God first, but also in our relationship with others. Look at the list: this fruit would be largely invisible if you were alone on a deserted island. The fruit of the Spirit becomes evident, primarily, as we live, love, and serve in the local church…

So, if someone asks you if you’re a Christian your answer should point to the work of God in your life. You should say, “Because of God…” not, “Because I…” And in large part the fruit you should point to is how the Spirit has enabled you to love and follow Jesus and thus love and serve people, especially in the community of faith. That said, may the Spirit produce much fruit in and through us…

I am nothing; Christ is all!

Pastor Nick