Matthew 7:16-20 16You will fully recognize them by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17Even so, every healthy (sound) tree bears good fruit [[m]worthy of admiration], but the sickly (decaying, worthless) tree bears bad (worthless) fruit. 18A good (healthy) tree cannot bear bad (worthless) fruit, nor can a bad (diseased) tree bear excellent fruit [worthy of admiration]. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. 20Therefore, you will fully know them by their fruits.
Whether or not we are being led by the Spirit of God will be evident by the fruit that is being produced in our lives. As today’s passage says, a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear excellent fruit. Therefore if we are being led by the Spirit of God, our actions will be an indication of His Spirit in us. It kind of goes along with what we talked about a couple weeks ago, not being able to serve two masters. If the Spirit of God is leading us we will not act out of our flesh, and vice verse. Ephesians 5:9 For the fruit (the effect, the product) of the Light or the Spirit [consists] in every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life. It also says in Galatians 5:22-23 22But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, 23Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. Do our lives reflect these characteristics?
In 2 Corinthians 13:5 we are encouraged to 5Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you–unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected? We have to look closely at our own lives to see if what we are producing lines up with the fruit of the Spirit found in the Word. Are we showing love to those around us? Are we joyful? Does the peace of God rule in our hearts and minds? Are we operating in patience? Are we kind and good and faithful and gentle? Are we able to show self-control? If we can look at our thoughts, our words and our actions and know that we are exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit then we can believe that the Spirit of God is leading and guiding us. If however, we don’t see these qualities evident in our behavior there are probably areas where we are ignoring the leading of the Holy Spirit. When we allow God to direct our paths and when we follow the direction He gives us, not only will we make the most beneficial decisions for our lives but we will also reap the benefits of having His love, joy, peace, and the rest of His fruit at work in us
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