Live a life that produces good fruit

I am officially a gardener. Or at least I planted my first-ever garden this year. I went with raised beds that I made out of pallets. I put the soil in, got my plants, watered regularly, and waited.

I must say, my garden had a lackluster performance. Sure, my tomatoes did alright, but I was looking forward to peppers of all varieties, lettuce, brussels sprouts, asparagus, blueberries, and my favorite: strawberries! But at the end of the harvest season, I had two jalapenos and a handful of strawberries throughout the season.

I’m really not sure what went wrong, but that’s not really the point of all of this. The Christian life is similar to a garden: we want to produce fruit. The Bible speaks of fruit in a few different ways, whether it be bearing fruit and so proving to be disciples of Jesus so that God would be glorified (John 15:2), a tree being known by its fruit (Luke 6:43), bearing fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8), or the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This is where I go back to my garden and think about how I don’t want my life to produce as little fruit as my garden did.

A Christian is a producer. But what kind of fruit is a Christian going to produce? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Instead of soil and fertilizer, though, we have been given the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. In order for a Christian to produce fruit, we need to know the Word and live by the Spirit. These two things cannot be separated, and trying to do one without the other is like expecting a garden to grow without water.

So think of your life and the fruit that it is producing. If someone were to look with you, what would they say about what your life is producing? Would they see the fruit of the Spirit increasing in your life or would they see a lackluster harvest? Or to put it another way, what fruit is the tree of your life known by (Luke 6:43)?

I must admit, sometimes my life looks more like my garden did this year than I would like. It is in these times, though, that I am so thankful for the good news of Jesus Christ! God’s love for me is not determined by my goodness. God’s love for me is determined by Christ. Jesus lived a perfect life, the life I should have lived. He died a substitutionary death, the death I deserved to die. Jesus rose again to life showing His sacrifice was perfect and that death could not hold him. He did all of this so that you and I, through faith in Him, could know the love of God as our Father.

There is nothing anyone can do to earn this standing before God; it is a gift that God gives in His mercy and grace. Because of that gift, we live our lives in service to Him seeking to produce fruit and live for His glory.

What kind of fruit is your life producing? Come to Jesus and in Him, experience a bountiful harvest.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Pastor Aaron Batdorf, Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Young Adults at Big Woods Bible Church, Castanea

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