Now, most people want to be fruitful and productive and appreciated.
Fruit comes by gradual growth. Fruit can be a slow process, but the tree produces what people need. The vine produces what people around us require.
Over these past weeks I have been reading and studying around the topic of the fruit God would us grow in our lives. These articles are based on some beautiful words, in the New Testament, from Galatians Chapter 5 and verses 22 and 23.
Jesus Christ displayed perfectly and fully the fruit of the Spirit - and Jesus says - "Follow Me" - so simple - watch where I go - watch what I do - pay attention to what I say - "Follow Me". Jesus also displayed most of the gifts of the Spirit because He enjoyed perfect communion with the Father.
Paul is writing here to Christian disciples who did not have an easy time but he writes about how God wants the fruit of the Spirit to permeate our whole character - and give flavour to our lives - love, joy, peace.
How are we to cultivate the fruit? There are many and various answers to that question. II Timothy 2 verses 6 and 7 may help - where Paul speaks about the hardworking farmer. Cultivating the fruit will take time and effort. We need to know God's Word, and become familiar with it. If we are not familiar with the Word of God, we will go without many of the benefits and blessings which God wishes to provide, and which God wishes us to enjoy.
Derek Prince used to say to people who were coming for ministry and for help and who were wrestling against Jesus and His Word - and he would discern this - "Come back when you are ready to believe the Bible!"
II Timothy 2 verse 15 develops this matter of working at our faith. When it comes to the Word of God, I need to be a good workman. Some things do not happen automatically. There is the sense here of rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck into this Book.
Verse 16 is fairly direct too, and if we do not pay attention to that, the very opposite can be produced.
The first part of the fruit of the Spirit of God is LOVE, but what does that mean? Let's examine it, because it is very important in the Christian Faith.
We read of it in Galatians Chapter 5 verse 6, and in verse 13 - and then in the next verse Paul uses a word which many people are not all that keen to hear today - COMMAND!
II Corinthians 5 verse 14 - For Christ's love compels us. A man can be compelled by the love of achieving something - being successful - or giving his life for a cause.
The love of Christ is deeper than the love of any cause.
This is an unconditional love - a love which surges from the heart of God into ours.
Many people are unaware that the cause of Jesus Christ is the greatest cause anyone can be involved in, in the whole world.
It covers and embraces every area of life - and death!
Turn to John Chapter 13 verses 34 and 35 - these too are beautiful words. Nothing can compare with this. But it is a Commandment - and it is NEW.
I used to find that some people did not like Commandments and they did not like anything NEW. So they can have great trouble with what Jesus says.
Jesus gives His disciples a new commandment - it is a command - not a suggestion - and it is not optional - and it is not advice to be taken or ignored depending upon how you are feeling.
All commands and commandments are in force until the orders are changed, and I have no evidence that this order has been changed, nor has it been withdrawn, or modified.
Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children's Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
He broadcasts regularly on WSHO radio out of New Orleans, and writes a weekly commentary at http://www.studylight.org entitled "Word from Scotland" on various biblical themes, as well as a weekly newspaper column.
His M.A. and B.D. degrees are from The University of Edinburgh, and he continues to run and exercise regularly to maintain a level of physical fitness.