“You shall know them by their fruits.”
This is a quote I hear often. Do you hear this a lot too? What does it actually mean?
I don’t know about you, but I know that I’ve seen people exhibit “fruit” but then have discovered they were living a secret life filled with sin. How can that be? We saw people be healed when they prayed. Signs and wonders followed them. They even casted out demons.
How could they have fruit when their life was compromised by sin? Have you ever wondered that? Me too.
This is not simply a saying. It’s a verse in the Bible.
You will know them by their fruits…Matthew 7:16a (NASB)
It’s verses like this that make me go . So, I stop and ask what it really is saying because I may not be understanding.
The Holy Spirit has taught me over the last years what this verse means and to help share that with you, I’d like to share this same verse in The Passion Translation.
You can spot them by their actions, for the fruits of their character will be obvious…
As a society and culture we have turned “fruits” to represent miracles, signs, wonders, alter calls, and charisma. However, the true intent of this powerful statement is representative of character, not gifting.
These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them, they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.Mark 18:17-18
Miracles, signs and wonders follow those that believe. It’s possible that these things follow those that have not fully surrendered their life to God because the signs don’t necessarily follow those with godly character, but those who believe.
Miracles, signs and wonders do not originate from the person. It is a gift from God. The person is a vessel that God uses to demonstrate His love through miracles, signs and wonders.
Jesus shared in John 13:35 what the sign of a disciple is.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.John 13:35
Miracles, signs and wonders follow those that believe. Those who are disciples of Jesus Christ demonstrate love; not just any love, but His love.
So, we are back to the question: If we will know good vs. bad by their fruit, what does that mean? What fruit?
One of the things I love about the Scriptures is that it defines its words. The question we need to ask is, does the Bible tell us what fruit is and, if so, what is it?
The answer to that question is yes. Galatians 5:22-23 defines what fruit looks like. I’m going to share these verses below in two different translations because I happen to love The Passion Translation here. It expresses the fruit of the Holy Spirit in a way that was revealed to me before I even read it in that version.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against these things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23 NASB
But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.Galatians 5:22-23 TPT
How do we know what is good by fruit?
We will know who is a godly when we see someone walking in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. That is how we will know someone is walking with the Holy Spirit. This is the fruit that is produced in their life.
At the very beginning I shared The Passion Translation of Matthew 7:16 where it reads “you can spot them by their actions, for the fruits of their character will be obvious.” Miracles, signs and wonders, alter calls producing hundreds of hands in the air, and charisma are not signs of character. They are signs of gifting. Fruit is a sign of character and the signs we should be looking for are:
LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, AND SELF-CONTROL
I sure am glad that the Bible defines fruit for us. The Scriptures contains truth. Truth is what will set us free. May this simple journal entry help bring clarity to this area of fruit.