February 4: Look for Fruit

Read Matthew 7

“By their fruit you will recognize them” (Mt. 7:15-23).

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden wrote the Pyramid of Success more than 70 years ago. It is about characteristics needed to be successful in life. At the top of the pyramid is the fruit Jesus talked about in our reading today. The fruit of patience and love.

Wooden was a Christ-follower who coached with a cross in his pocket. A member of The Fellowship Of Christian Athletes, he studied Scripture and knew a thing or two about the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. (See Gal. 5:23.)

Although I shook his hand at a basketball clinic in 1980, and talked to him for 5 seconds, I really did not know him. But I kept an eye on his life as a coach, a teacher, a husband and a father. He always tried to encourage others. His wife was his best friend. He never, ever used profanity. I wanted to be like him.

Although John Wooden was a flawed man like all of us, I recognized him as a follower of Christ by his fruit.

When we follow Christ, the Holy Spirit produces fruit in us, to make us more like Him. This fruit of the Holy Spirit is in direct contrast with the sinful nature, which produces a fruit of its own. (We find this kind of fruit listed in Galatians 5:19-21 — “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.”) On our own, our sinful nature produces certain types of fruit that reflect our nature. The Holy Spirit, though, produces types of fruit that reflect His nature as we follow Him.

The Bible says we will recognize which nature someone follows by their fruit.

Which fruit does your life display? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work and produce His fruit in you as you read His Word, listen for His leading, watch for His work?God wants to display His fruit in us so He can show Himself for who He is.

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