Who you are, what you become and what you act like is all determined by who and what you abide in, what you connect to and what you focus on.

If you want good, life giving God fruit – you’ve got to abide in Jesus.

If you abide in self – you will have selfish fruit.

If you abide in sin – you will end up with sinful fruit.

If you abide in McDonalds – you will end up with fat fruit.

That’s how life works, what you abide in is what you become like.

As a believer it’s not about trying to be good it’s about abiding in the one who is good, we do that and we’ll see the right God fruit around our lives.

Jesus said (John 10:10) “I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.”

Jesus did not come and condemn the world, He came for those who are sick that they would be healed, those who are lost would be found and those who are bound would be free, He came that we may have life and have it more abundantly.

People think that He’s a cosmic wet blanket, that He’s trying to stop everybody’s fun, but that’s not true at all. He has come to give us life!

Through religious concepts people think that God looks at them in right or wrong and good or bad, God never looks at us this way, He looks through the lense of what brings life and what brings death. When God says “Don’t touch that” it’s not because it’s wrong or bad but because it leads to death. The wages of sin is death, it doesn’t say the wages of sin is bad or wrong, it says death. The bible goes on to say – you will know them by their fruits.. God is saying I want you to have life and have it more abundantly how we know we are doing that is by our fruit.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

Matthew 7:20-21 (NKJV)

How do we know that people are believers? Well look at their life, look at their fruit, you’ll notice their work ethic, how they treat other people, how they deal with challenges and problems, you’ll notice how they reach out and help other people, their positive attitude, we will be known by our fruit.

It’s not our IQ or sporting prowess that we will be known by, but by our fruit we will be! We often get excited about gifts, but God doesn’t see us through our gifts. What excites God is not what He gives us, but what we give Him back. He gives us our gifts He doesn’t get thrown when we use our gifts both spiritual and natural, but we won’t be known to Him by them, we will be known by our fruit. We give Him our fruit, it’s so important to Him that we bear fruit, because when we bear spiritual fruit it says to Him that we are becoming more like Him.

The main thing God wants, is for us to become like Him. We are all on that journey. Bananas grow on a banana tree, not apples and the reason is you can’t change the fruit unless you change the source. At the end of the day, you are who your fruit says you are, not your bumper sticker, or your title but your fruit. We’ve got to connect to His Word, His presence, His purposes and His people. It’s not about striving it’s about abiding. It’s not about trying harder it’s about drawing closer.

“Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], envy, drunkenness, riotous behaviour, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

— Galatians 5:19-23 (AMP)

The only way we bear spiritual fruit is by abiding in Jesus. It’s not by trying to be better tempted or to try and stop looking at that pornography, no it’s by abiding in His presence, it changes your belief system and if your belief system changes so do your actions that’s how the fruit comes. We are going to go through 2 of those fruits Love and Joy and next week we will go through the others.

LOVE – unselfish concern for others.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all. Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].”

— 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (NKJV)

LOVE is motive… not just what we do but why we do it.

Though it is actions it’s not just based on actions its also agenda. Love is doing the right thing for the right reason. The way you determine what love looks like in your life is this… if you don’t get recognised, if you don’t get thanked, if you don’t get promoted and if you don’t get seen… how do you feel? Are you offended when someone doesn’t thank you for something, or when no one notices what you are doing? All those things will determine whether you are doing something out of love or not. Love is more than what we do, it’s more why we do it.

God’s love doesn’t mean everyone has to be your best friend. God has called us to love people we don’t like and that we don’t trust, but you don’t have to be best friends with everybody. God’s called us to God love, it’s not being best friends, it means we don’t curse people, we bless them, it means we help those in need whether they deserve it or not, it’s not based on emotion or feeling it’s a call of God to live at a certain way.

Love is action…

The only proof of passion is pursuit. You can’t say you’re passionate about playing piano but you’ve never had a lesson or you can say you’re passionate about God but not involved in pursuing His purposes. Passion is only described by what it pursues. The only proof of love is giving and doing. We’re all called to love and that means we’re doing something for somebody else. If you’ve got the fruit of love on you, you are helping somebody else. A pastor over 100 years ago was walking through a poverty stricken part of town, and the pastor looked up to God and screamed “why don’t you do something!?” God responded and said “ I did, I created you” Love is attitude and action, it’s us doing something for somebody else. As believers we should be able to look at our lives and see love hanging off our branches.

JOY – is love being strong.

Joy is much more than being happy. Happiness comes from our environment, Joy comes from abiding. Joy is a spiritual force and a spiritual fruit. Happiness is fleeting. Joy doesn’t come from out there it comes from within us, it comes from abiding. Joy is there whether it’s going good or it’s going bad. It’s a sense of God’s got this everything is going to be ok. We need more joy when things are going wrong rather than when things are going right. Joy of the Lord is available to us and it’s a strength.

“Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

— Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

Anywhere you see the word joy in the bible you can switch it out with the word strength, it means the same thing. Joy is our strength!

If the devil is going to steal something off the believer the first thing he goes for is their joy, because joy’s purpose is to give us strength, without joy it’s hard to love. Joy is such a powerful part of who we are, it’s not just a fruit it’s a force.

Even Jesus said “I count it all joy” to go the cross. There’s no joy in being crucified, so what is He talking about? He wasn’t talking about being happy, no, He was saying I count it all strength to go to the cross. The way He got through pain was to focus on the victory, joy makes you see not what you’re going through but the end result.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials..” – James 1:2 (NKJV)

You trials and challenges aren’t there to stop you but instead strengthen you. So we count it all joy not just in the good times but in the bad times as well, and we don’t get it by trying harder to be happy, we get it by abiding in the presence of God. Joy is love being strong, it’s a spiritual fruit. You get it by abiding in His presence, His Word, His people and His purposes.