You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?~Matthew 7:16 NLT
He stood by the shopping cart and waited. Little did he realize he would be known by the fruits.
Middle Schoolers are known for some interesting prayer requests. If I ran the statistics, most would relate to sports—safe travels, good sportsmanship, the ability to remember moves, and no rain. But one time, I told them the requests could not relate to sports. I had few requests that morning.
And some want to tell a lengthy story along with their request. Usually, we don’t have time to accommodate the stories, but one day I allowed one student to tell his.
He had accompanied his mom to the grocery store. As he stood by the shopping cart while his mom visited the restroom, an older lady passed him, then turned around and asked, “Are you a Christian?”
Surprised, he said, “Yes.”
“I could tell by your smile,” she remarked.
I was glad I let him share the story because the rest of the class needed to hear that even a smile can show who we are.
Rather than illustrating how others can identify His followers, Jesus tells a story that shows how to identify those who aren’t. They may look like His followers (sheep), but they’re really wolves in disguise. They tell their story by their fruit. Grapevines produce grapes, and thornbushes produce thorns. The fruit provides the giveaway—even if it’s only a smile.
When we follow Christ, our fruit should include love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. And if we have those traits, we’ll wear a smile as my young student did.
Producing fruit takes work and help. Nutrients from the soil, water from rain and dew, and pruning are all involved. God calls our fruit the fruit of the Spirit because He gives us His Spirit to help us produce the traits we should demonstrate. If I try on my own, I’ll mess up every time, but if I let God do His work through me, I can’t go wrong. After all, my job is to point others to Him, not me.
Producing fruit is just what fruit-producing plants do. When they don’t, we know something is amiss. The same holds for believers. If our fruit is shabby or comes in small quantities, we need to ask God to help us make a change.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.~1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NLT
In a world gone awry, even a smile can show others who you are.
What are some ways you can let your fruit point others to God?
Father God, help the fruit of my life to point others to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Copyright 2023: Known by the Fruits: Martin Wiles: All Rights Reserved