The very first house my wife and I purchased had a beautiful back yard filled with plum trees. We moved into our new home in the Spring anticipating a bumper crop of plums in the Fall. Expecting peaches would have been foolish, though at the time we were living in peach country.
You see, the kind of fruit is the result of the kind of tree.
The lesson here is that a spiritual man produces the fruit of the Spirit while the natural man produces an entirely different fruit. Galatians 5:19-23 is a passage of Scripture that reminds us of this dynamic. By nature man is a child of the devil. John 8:44 declares, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. We were born into this world as "little devils". I know it is hard for grandparents to accept this truth, but ask any parent at 2:00 a.m. and they will confirm this to be true. John 8:44 indicates "as nature is, nature does". We were born children of the devil, so we will act like children of the devil. The only way to change this dynamic is by getting a new nature. Just as a plum tree cannot turn itself into a peach tree, we cannot change our nature. So how do we get a new nature? The Bible tells us that we must be "born again" in John chapter 3. There we are told "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Jesus goes on to tell us that in order to be born again, born of the Spirit, we must put our trust in Him. Jesus is the only way to God, the only way to eternal life. There is no other name given under heaven...whereby we must be saved. Being "born again" is relationship with God's Son who came into this world to pay the price of sin. The price of sin is death, and Christ paid it for us. Yes, being "born again" is a spiritual experience, but it cannot be separated from a relationship with Christ. When I place my faith and trust in Jesus, I become a child of God. I am no longer a child of the devil. The Bible says I become a joint-heir with Christ. As a child of God, I have a new nature, the nature of my Father in heaven. The Bible says I become a partaker of the divine nature - only then can I even produce spiritual fruit.
Well, Autumn came and there was no fruit on our plum trees. None at all. We began to research why perfectly healthy trees did not produce any fruit. We discovered that it takes a degree of maturity in order for a plum tree to produce plums. Likewise, we find in Scripture that the fruit of the Spirit is manifested in the life of a mature Christian. One does not immediately bring forth the fruit of the Spirit the moment they place their faith and trust in Christ. They have the nature to produce that fruit at the moment they become a child of God, but fruit bearing is a process. We will talk about that process in my next post.