A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit will you recognize them.
But the fruit f the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with it's passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
I've never had much of a sweet tooth. When I was a kid my Halloween candy would still be around when it came time for the Easter candy, and visa-versa. As such, I have to force myself to eat fruit because fruit is more often than not, sweet. It's not that I don't like fruit, it's just have to kind of make myself stick it in my face. If fruit tasted like salsa, I would eat it all day long.
Currently, every night at work I bring a bowl of cereal with either bananas or strawberries on it. I don't really understand why I have to force myself, I just do. At any rate, I like my bowl of cereal. Even though I sometimes get teased for it, hopefully it will help counteract the snacking on french fries that I do.
I have often wondered about Jesus description of how to recognize a true Believer from a false one. It seems to have very little to do with one's theological correctness. It seems to have a great deal to do with the long-term demonstration of the Holy Spirit working in a person's life. Rarely does one take a glance at a person and conclude in a matter of half a minute "Wow, that person is always demonstrating such kindness and gentleness." Usually that is something that is seen over time in the context of a relationship.
In this country, the label of "Christian" is thrown around pretty easily. It's like you are a christian by default simply because you were born here. I see plenty of politicians, talking-heads and even many preachers on the TV wear that label, but they tend to make me scratch my head and ask "Really?" I am not in the position to read other people's hearts and minds, so I don't know for sure. I will say though that a good deal of the time when I hear these people I will get more red flags in my head than exist in Tiananmen Square.
Currently, I have been wondering about myself. I have come to the painful conclusion that when it comes to the fruit of the Spirit, I have a complete deficit in the area of self-control. It's funny because that aspect hadn't really occurred to me until a few days ago when a friend pointed it out to me. Until then, I tended to concentrate on the aspects of love, peace, kindness and that stuff.
The fact of the matter is that I have allowed Satan to get his hooks in me in a couple of areas because of my lack of self-control. Man, there are times where he can shake me like a rag doll because of it. I am very thankful that this has been pointed out to me. It is truly something that I need to turn over to Jesus. I realize now that I had been searching for a long time for this knowledge. I couldn't put my finger on it or give it a name. Now I know.
I have been greatly dissatisfied for a long, long time with myself and this world. I hunger and thirst for righteousness because I know I have none of my own. My heart is far from pure, but I hunger for God. I want to be with him.
While there are sins and issues that are common to all, each of us carries unique challenges to bear. Self-control is one for me. (I am an awesome procrastinator and can be incredibly lazy.) I want to be a good tree. I want to bear ALL the "Fruit of the Spirit." I am very thankful that I now have a name for what I lack. It will not be easy for me to turn this over to Jesus. But then again, anything worth having is worth struggling for.
Jesus, please bring a revival to my heart, mind and soul.