No matter how hard we try, we cannot produce fruit ourselves. We can seek to do all sorts of awesome and mighty works, and yet at the end of the day it is empty without the Holy Spirit working in and through us while carrying out the work. In our modern society where workaholics are held in high esteem and to take any time to rest and relax is seen as a forbidden taboo, the question arises, “How Biblically accurate is this philosophy of life?”
People strive to get things done, even within the church, all the while doing most of it out of their own ambitious drive and will. We see church programs being stacked up to the max that would overwhelm any sane individual, and yet there is no slowing down in sight. Work, work and more work is the key to producing fruit for God and succeeding in life, and although there is some truth that lies within this thought process, it is way off course compared to scripture.
“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. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”Matthew 21-23 nkjv
The above verse should speak directly to the hearts and minds of Christians today and should convict many of us to the core. The verses preceding the ones listed above focus on the life of a believer and the fruits that they should produce. We are all called to produce good fruits for the Lord, and while many may believe that they are, most of what they produce is done from their own selfish ambitions and not the will of the Father. If we are striving so much to please God through our works and the fruit we produce, at that moment we have stepped out of the will of God and into the realm of works leading us to salvation.
Now, I am not stating that we should be lazy and do nothing, but at the same time we should be careful to examine the desire within us that is prompting us to do certain works for God. We must understand that faith produces works and not the other way around. As we walk with God in the Spirit daily, fruit will be naturally produced from it and not something that we strive to produce out of our own being. The fruit of the Spirit is a byproduct of our faith in Jesus Christ and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”john 15:4-5 nkjv
The way in which we can discern where the desire within us is coming from, whether from ourselves or God, is by taking time to be still in prayer and meditation with God. When we quiet ourselves and focus on the Lord, we can then begin to see clearly as He brings clarity within our lives. Only by have a true personal relationship with God can we know what His will is for our lives and the works He has called us to pursue. This is not a one time “burning bush” moment, although there are times for “aha” moments, typically the will of God is revealed to us throughout time via daily connections with Him.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”Galatians 5:22-25 nkjv
No matter how tempted we may become to drift into the flow of the world and have the “work, work, work” mentality, we must always keep our focus on the One in which all good fruits come. We must always look for balance within our lives as to not be lazy, and yet not be workaholics like the world. The more we flow and live in the Spirit daily, the clearer the will of the Father becomes and the more good fruit we produce.