I am writing this while doing what I do a lot of these days: sitting at the pool while my daughter swims. I’ve learned over the past few years that being a swimmer takes a rather ridiculous amount of hard work. It requires knowing all the strokes and practicing them for hours every day. It requires being in great shape on land too, running and doing various dry land exercises (which are rigorously protested in my house with the cry “mermaids don’t do dry land!”). It also requires eating….a lot! My daughter seems to have about zero percent body fat, yet plows through copious amounts of food. Add it all up, and it is pretty evident that it takes a substantial investment and effort to become a swimmer.
The fruit of my daughter’s labors is that she is clearly a swimmer. It would be hard to watch her in the pool and claim otherwise. She may not be the best, but all her efforts have paid off with ribbons, medals, and the ability to swim relatively well. She can point to obvious results from her hard work. What fruits can we point to as a result of us being Christ followers? What makes us different from the rest of the world? I don’t mean to be judgmental in posing those questions, but I do mean to be at least a little blunt. Many boast of being Christians, but their lives reveal little evidence of that. I say that having been there myself. I have had seasons of my life where I have confessed Jesus with my lips, but not with my life. I could quickly mark “Christian” on a survey, but my life was hardly different from that of a non-Christian.
Paul shows us what a life lived for Christ should look like. He writes that when we let God’s Spirit lead us in life there will be definite results.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26
I do not write any of this to day to judge anyone. I do, however, write it to challenge each of us, because I believe all of us struggle to always live in a manner that truly reflects God. It can be easy to fall into the worldly trap of confessing Christ with our lips, while failing to live our lives for Him. If the Fruits of the Spirit are not evident in your life right now, see that as a call to action. See it as call to change your life so that your heart, mind, and actions are inline with the words coming from your mouth.