My dad used to grow tomatoes in our back yard. Every year, he would prepare the dirt, put his tomato plants into the ground, water them, and watch them grow. I still remember…the plants would get so tall he would eventually have to stake them up. I was just a little boy and didn’t know much about growing tomatoes, but I do remember eventually getting to eat big red ripened tomatoes. When they finally ripened, my dad would pick a half dozen or so and bring them into the house. My mom would slice and salt them, and put them right on my plate. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
But what would have happened if my dad did the same process: prepared ground, planted tomatoes, watered, and watched them grow. They grew, and grew, and grew. They grew so big he had to get taller and taller stakes to prop them up, so they would not fall over. Let’s suppose the tomato plants turned a deep dark green, and for some strange reason, grew bright-colored flowers. It would be a beauty to behold. It might be the best looking garden on the block. But if the plants never produced tomatoes, they would have been worthless. It’s because the purpose of a tomato plant – is to produce tomatoes. If the plant never produced tomatoes, my dad and his family would not have had tomatoes to eat.
It’s the same with us. God gives us the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, He fills us with God's love and produces good fruit in our lives. We can look like a Spirit-filled Christian, talk like one, and act like one at church. But if we don’t produce any usable fruit, what value are we? You see, the proof that the Holy Spirit lives within us is when we produce fruit.
Are you producing fruit? Are you more loving this year than last? Does joy characterize your life? Are you more patient? Are you more kind to your family or those around you? How are you doing with gentleness or self-control? Fruit is the proof.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.