Take a moment and visualize yourself at the grocery store. You are standing in the middle of the produce section and you are wanting to purchase some wonderful and delicious apples. You reach out and blindly grab a couple and toss them in your basket without even looking at them. You are sure that they are all crisp delicious and free from defect and bruises….right. I would think that a more realistic picture is that you take the time to look them over and check them to ensure that they are exactly the quality that you are looking for. If they are bruised, poor quality, or worse yet filled with worms, you would place them back and select another. You are in fact a fruit inspector.
About a year ago a dear brother in Christ challenged me to become a fruit inspector of a different variety. An inspector of the fruit of the Spirit. This is something that was a real eye opener for me and my family. This was a totally new way to look at how we were living our lives and following Christ. Hopefully we are all aware of what scripture says about the fruits of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
How often do we take time to become inspectors of our own fruit? Scripture says that these are godly attributes that are evidenced in the lives of those who belong to Christ and possess the spirit of God. If we are walking with Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit these nine attributes will be present and a natural outflowing of our lives.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” Matthew 7:15-16)
So what do these fruits look like? How should they manifest themselves in our lives? How do we know what healthy fruit looks like?
Love: Agape – Not an emotional or physical attraction but one of respect, devotion, and affection that leads to a willing and self-sacrificing service.
Joy: A sense of well-being experienced by someone who knows that all is well between him and the Lord. This is something that is not only experienced during the good times but the bad also, even when circumstances are at their worst.
Peace: An inner calm that results from confidence in your saving relationship with Christ.
Patience: The ability to endure injuries and wrongs inflicted by others. The ability to accept uncomfortable or painful situations. Also the ability to wait on the Lord.
Kindness: A true loving and tender concern for others. A desire to treat others as the Lord treats all believers.
Goodness: Moral and spiritual excellence
Faithfulness: Filled with faith in God.
It is our nature to sometimes wonder if we are truly saved. Satan loves to roam around and whisper in your ear the seeds of doubt about your salvation. How then do we know if we are walking the path that we should? How about those around us, those that claim the name of Christ? Do we always know it they are what they claim?
“Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
I would never dare to say ” judge yourself” or worse yet, to judge someone else. It is not our place to question and challenge the salvation of another. That is between God and them. However, the key is to evaluate the fruits of the Spirit. To analyze what the outpouring of their life is. What are the fruits of those who claim the name of Christ? We live in a day and age when many claim the name of Christ for personal gain. There is value in being able to determine the outflow of their lives. However, first and foremost, we need to analyze our own lives. As with any fruit, they must be nurtured and cultivated. As we mature in Christ so do our fruits. When we accept Christ we are not instantly endowed with a robust crop. Instead we have the seeds. As we mature so do our fruits. They must be tended and nurtured along our journey. Fed with the word and watered with the love of Christ. As you go down the produce aisle of life take moment and inspect your own fruit. Is it crisp and fresh or is it bruised and filled with worms? If it is the latter then maybe it is time to put it back on the shelf and move toward one that is ripe and fresh. Become a fruit inspector.