Editor’s note: This article series is about experiencing abundant life in Christ. If you want to experience spiritual growth by the power of the Holy Spirit, check out our study, Abundant: A Bible Study on the Fruit of the Spirit. Read the other articles in the series here:
- “Abide in the True Vine” by Sarah Valentour
- "Abundant: A Bible Study on the Fruit of the Spirit"
- "Famine and Fruitfulness" by Taylor Cage
A Guide to Good Fruit
I come from a long line of master gardeners. My grandparents’ garden was the stuff of legends. They gardened acres of land diligently to produce fruit that they shared with family, neighbors, and new acquaintances. They worked hard and their land produced plentiful fruit, but if God hadn’t sent the sun and rain, the garden would have floundered.
I’m not like my grandparents. I’m an indifferent gardener to the three raised beds in our backyard. I water them when I’m not too tired, and I weed them sparingly. My garden produces little fruit—not even enough to feed our family—but it would produce none without the grace of God in the form of rain and sunshine.
This is the story of life in Christ. Because of God’s grace, we can be indifferent and produce little fruit, or we can work diligently—making every effort to grow—and participate with God to produce abundant fruit that is a blessing to everyone around us.
We Want to Be Good
I want to be a good person—a good friend, a good mom, a good church member, a good wife, a good daughter, and even a good Christian. But my life is riddled with weakness. Instead of being good, I’m sinful and selfish. I’m insufficient and limited. It’s impossible for me to measure up to the standards of the world or of a holy God, but—thank goodness—I have a Savior.
If you are in Christ, this is also true of you! And I’m guessing that you also long to be good—no, godly—in your everyday life. Jesus Christ came to earth to be good in all the circumstances where we can’t. He is the embodiment of righteousness itself, and although he experienced the weakness of humanity, he did not give into sin. Through his sacrificial death and resurrection, he is our righteousness. He met God’s perfect standard so that we can hide ourselves in him.
Now we are good in Christ, standing in a righteous position before God, yet we’re still becoming good—growing in righteousness in our everyday lives as we become more like our Savior.
Producing Good Fruit
All of our good fruit begins with God’s power at work in us, yet leading a virtuous life of faith and obedience does require effort on our part. We don’t “let go and let God.” We work in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. God is always supplying the grace required for us to respond in obedience, and yet we are responsible for obeying his Word and growing more like him, too. It’s not either or, but yes and.
But all the work you do and the effort you make is not to purchase your righteousness or pay Jesus back for the work he did on the cross for you. If you are in Christ, you are set free to live by faith in the Son of God, who loved you and gave himself for you. If you remain in Christ, depending on the work of the Holy Spirit within you, you will produce abundant spiritual fruit.
Remember This Good News
Jesus didn’t save you to continue on the path of the world and stay stuck in the shackles of sin. He came to give you abundant life in him—a gift of grace cultivated by the Holy Spirit bearing fruit in your heart and actions through the powerful Word of God.
You are already righteous in Christ, so grow in demonstrating that righteousness in your everyday life. You are already free, so don’t submit to the slavery of sin (Gal. 5:1). You are already a child of God, so become more like your Father (Gal. 3:25–26). You are alive by the work of the Holy Spirit, so keep in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25).