"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

You can probably name the fruit of God's Spirit by heart: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Most likely, you've read that list countless times, each time wishing you had a little more joy or a lot more peace in your life. (Pick your preference from the list.) Usually, you're left wondering how to get it. Do you just try harder to be more loving, more gentle, more faithful? Surprisingly, the answer is no.

Jesus revealed that the secret of growing God's fruit in your life is in being at home with Him. That's the true definition of the familiar word "abide." Listen to how He described what that means in John 15:5: "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." You grow more of God's fruit not when you try harder, but when you stay connected to the Source. When you abide in Christ, you invite Him to live with you, not just in eternity, but each day of your life.

Think about the marriage vows. Those standing at the altar vow to share their lives with each other. They vow to live with each other. In the same way, when you abide in Christ, you share your life with Jesus.

And because of your intimate and committed relationship with Christ, He promises to care about every detail of your life. He welcomes you to draw all your wisdom and strength from Him. He invites you to share your life with Him. And according to John 15, He promises that you will grow to be more like Him over time.

How Can I Grow to Become More like Christ?

Through the vine and the branch, Jesus illustrated His secret to godly growth. When a branch stays connected to the vine, it bears the kind of fruit the vine grows. If Jesus is the Vine, you'll grow the fruit that looks like Him when you live with Him.

That familiar list of the fruit of God's Spirit you know by heart describes the result of that work in your life. Since God is love, you will grow love. Because God brings joy, you will reflect joy. Because His life is peace, you will exude peace. The closer you grow to the Source, the more complete His life grows in your life. But you've got to remain in the relationship. If you want to look more like Christ, you've got to make your home in Him.

Two Requirements for Growing God's Fruit

Time. Like the fruit on the tree, growing God's character in your life takes time. Day by day, you can watch Him grow His character in you as you make your heart at home in Him. And just as fruit grows from within, out of an abundance of water, sunshine, and nutrients, so does Christ's life grow in you.

The care of the Vinedresser. Since God is the Vinedresser, it's His job to grow the fruit. Let Him decide what characteristic He grows in you today. Like a tree with many branches, a growing Christian life contains the fruit of all nine characteristics listed in Galatians 5. It's your job to stay close and be completely at home with Christ as He does His work in you-remaining humble, vulnerable, and teachable in the process.

Come along with us this year as we discover how to be at home with Him and invite Him to grow His fruit in our lives one day at a time.