In John 15:8 it says, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” Since these words are written in red, and we know that everything that our Lord Jesus said is written in red, then it must be really important that our Father is glorified through our lives. How is He glorified? Jesus said that He is glorified if we bear a lot of fruit.
We find out about the fruit that Jesus is speaking of in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” The fruit of the spirit is the kind of fruit that brings glory and honor to God.
I taught on this topic years ago at a ladies’ meeting and I had all of the ladies, myself included, list the numbers one through nine on a sheet of paper. Then we listed each of the part of the fruit of the spirit after each number. After discussing the fruit of the spirit in detail, we then did a self-evaluation of how much of each of these characteristics that we thought we had in our lives on a scale of one to ten. Then I had each person to number their paper again and exchange with a friend. I had them to evaluate each other on how much of each of these parts of the fruit that they saw in each other. It was a really good lesson and was truly enjoyed by all present. We left that meeting knowing what fruit we had in abundance and which areas we needed to grow and produce more fruit.
I still use these nine parts of the fruit to self-evaluate on a regular basis. The evaluation rarely produces the same results. There are times that I am filled to the brim with love but I find myself lacking joy or peace. At other times I am bearing a lot of faithfulness and self-control but lacking gentleness. I really think that if we take the time to sit down and do regular self-evaluations of where we stand in God and in His word, then we could truly grow in His grace and become an evenly balanced Christian bearing all of the fruit of the spirit. We would know precisely what areas of our lives need to be worked on and which fruit needs to be sought after.
At this point in my life I am stuck on love, God’s love and how much of that love I have. How much love do we truly have on a scale of one to ten? I have always said it is easy to see how much God a person has in them. It can be seen in how much love they have, because God is love. We need to have an abundance of that fruit for sure. I think that is one reason that no matter which translation of the Bible that you read, love is always first when the fruit of the spirit is described in Galatians 5:22-23. Other parts of the fruit are in different places and different order but love is always first.
I Corinthians chapter thirteen is commonly referred to as the love chapter in the Bible. We find that in I Corinthians 13:13 it says, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” This chapter can also be used as a great self-evaluation tool. I pray that I never sound like a clanging cymbal or like sounding brass as I Corinthians speaks about. According to this chapter, without love we can sound quite annoying when being compared to a ringing cymbal. I imagine the sound of a drummer taking a drum stick and just whacking one of the cymbals over and over. That would be a horrible sound and yet the word of God says that is what we sound like if we do not season our words with love.
This week I want to issue a challenge to you. I challenge you to take the time to do a self-evaluation by numbering one through nine and listing the different parts of the fruit of the spirit and being totally honest and score yourself with a one through ten rating on what you project in your daily life. I am not talking about while you are at church on Sunday. I am talking about in your everyday life, at home, at work, at the grocery store, or wherever your path takes you each and every day. Find out what your strong points are, discover you weak areas, and strive to have balance in the amount of fruit that you are producing. Remember that God is glorified when be bear “much” fruit. Take the challenge, test yourself, and strive to become a better person, a better Christian, and let God get glory and honor from your life.