Talking about spiritual gifts can be confusing. One area of confusion is the difference between spiritual gifts and spiritual fruit. Spiritual gifts are unique abilities that the Holy Spirit gives believers for the strengthening of the local church and the expansion of the Kingdom of God. In other words, spiritual gifts are for strengthening believers so that they can in turn be equipped to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). This is all done for the glory of God. Spiritual fruit are found in Galatians 5:22-23….
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (NIV).
Spiritual fruit are not abilities but rather characteristics.
Followers of Christ begin living these characteristics in their daily lives. The Holy Spirit begins to make these kinds of changes in our lives so that others can see the difference following Jesus makes. All followers of Jesus produce these fruits. Not all of these fruits are as ripe as others in each of our lives. But all these fruits are being produced in our lives.
Just as an apple tree cannot help but produce apples, so also a follower of Jesus cannot help but produce the spiritual fruits of Galatians 5. When you are walking among trees, how do you know you have found an apple tree? By finding apples on it. That is why Jesus says these words in Luke 6:43.
A good tree doesn’t produce rotten fruit, and a rotten tree doesn’t produce good fruit. 44 Each tree is known by its fruit. You don’t pick figs from thorny plants or grapes from a thorn bush. 45 Good people do the good that is in them. But evil people do the evil that is in them. The things people say come from inside them (GW).
In other words, you will know the followers of Jesus because of the fruit they produce. They will be marked by their characteristics, the characteristics of Galatians 5.
How are people seeing you as a follower of Jesus?