A Reasoned Faith

What is the fruit of the Christian life?

Fruit. Brings to mind juicy berries or crisp apples. Or, if you are thinking spiritually, it’s the evidence of the devoted life unto our God, the Saviour. It is the latter I begin to address here.

In this post, we shall explore particular elements of the life of the follower of Christ, which show evidence of a genuinely converted life.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth – discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:8-10, the Bible.

A careful look at this instruction by the apostle Paul seems to imply the fruit is not automatic. Being in the light from darkness happens supernaturally – by the hand of God when we decide to believe in and accept the Lord Jesus. We received a new spiritual life, from a sinful state with no understanding of God’s ways, being lovingly led into His wonderful light – the discovery of His goodness and holiness. Then we are told to ‘walk’ in it.

So how is your walk? How is your journey with God progressing? What fruit has come forth that you can recognise as God’s transforming power?

One of the evidences is discernment, as indicated in the bible passage above. Another word for this is insight, to perceive. In the Biblical context, it’s the ability to make a distinction between true and false, good and evil, right and wrong. Necessary both for our personal life choices and in how we navigate this world. Not muddying the waters. Not overlooking error. Our peace in Christ will be protected when we are not led astray.

Deception is a real issue in these times we live in. Not all that sounds good is good. Christ taught that “by their fruits you will know them”, referring to false prophets. Within the worldwide church of Christ, errors have crept in over time. We should expect falsehood in the general world, in the media, even in some of what children are taught. But in God’s Church, the hub of the spiritually regenerated, eternal truths are being reinterpreted by ‘progressive Christianity’. Also mysticism/new age practices have been allowed to infiltrate, being ‘Christianised’. We should not be blind to this or worse still, become convinced that these things can somehow be compatible with Biblical Christianity.

Our aim, as highlighted in Paul’s teaching, is to discern what pleases God. Our daily lives are to be offered up as “living sacrifices”, consecrated to our Lord’s good and holy will. When we begin to lose sight of this, perhaps through letting the cares of this life entangle us, or worldly philosophies being pushed upon us, we are on a slippery slope. But there is grace available, and it’s not cheap grace. Our crucified and risen Lord Jesus, the holy Messiah who gave His life to ransom sinners, gives us the successful ‘formula’ for our lives.

23 Then He said to all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 

Luke 9:23, the Bible.

A daily walk that refuses to bend to temptations and opinions. A walk that puts what God’s word says above our own comforts and the ideologies and philosophies of this world. Yet if we’re honest, we fall short. But our failures can and should decrease, because we are in the light, remember? We have heaven’s resources available, we have the Spirit of God living in each of us, if we have received God’s gift of salvation in Jesus.

The fruit of being children of the light will increase as we keep in fellowship and devotion to the One who said…

I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.

John’s Gospel, 8:12, the Bible.

I remember what it was like to walk in darkness in my pre-Christian life journey. I remember the bad choices I made and the things I experienced. I see the difference between walking devoid of God’s truth and walking in the light of Jesus Christ.

So what does it look like when we slip back into our old sinful ways? Well, I was recently reading through Hosea in the Bible. God’s chosen people the Israelites had strayed far from Him into the ways of pagan nations around them. They had lost sight of God rescuing them from slavery in Egypt and teaching them His ways. We see this:

Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel, for the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed.

Hosea 4:1-2, the Bible.

Note that it sees “they break all restraint”. The boundaries of God’s truth and righteousness were pushed away. Self-control under the guiding hand of the Creator had gone out of the window. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit of God in us (Galatians 5). When the sinful desires of our flesh begin to take over again, we cease to apply discernment. We ignore the nudges of the Spirit, warning us that we are entering a danger zone. We start thinking we know best, forgetting what Jesus has done for us. We will find ourselves making choices that we wouldn’t have thought we’d ever make again since becoming followers of Christ. Yet God, in His great mercy, gives us chances to return.

We have a faithful, gracious Saviour, whose undeserved kindness leads us to repentance. Let’s give attention to walking in His ways, and we will find ourselves well-equipped to help others escape the deceptions of these days.

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