Do You Bear Fruit? Sign 1: Love
One of the first Bible verses we learn as children is “God is love” (1 John 4:8). God loves us; thus, the seed is planted. A popular description of God’s love can be found in 1 Corinthians 13. When many people speak of love, they are speaking of an emotion or a feeling. But God’s love is a choice. Just as he chose to send Jesus to die on the cross for us, we must also choose to love those around us. It doesn’t matter if we feel like loving them, God’s true love dictates we should love them because we choose to love them, just as He chose to love us.
Have you ever had a wayward child? Did you just cease loving him or her because of the behavior he engaged in or a wrong choice she made? Of course not. You continued to love him because he is your child and you love him no matter what. You made the choice to love him or her, just as God loves you. You put your own feelings or choices aside to put another person first. That is God’s fruit.
Unless you choose to love God, your life may be filled with bitterness and you may be a very lonely person. Others will miss seeing the love of God in you as He intended. And your Christian testimony will lack power because your life does not back up your words.
Sign 2: Joy
People sometimes equate joy with happiness. Happiness may be an outward sign of joy, but true joy goes deeper than that. Joy is a matter of the heart. If your joy fruit is based on life’s circumstances, what happens when things aren’t going your way? Your joy vanishes so you are left fruitless with nothing to share with others. James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy.” All is the keyword—the good and the bad. If we trust in God’s master plan for our lives, that trust will overcome any circumstances. We will live out Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Without the joy of Jesus, we find it difficult to be joyful in every situation. However, if our joy springs from joy in Jesus, we will weather every storm with a smile. When you encounter someone whose heart is not full of the joy of Jesus, you will recognize that person as one who is sad and sees the world through negative filters. Their emotions often are out of control and the lack of joy causes him or her to be unhappy with his or her place in the world.
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