My father once said to me during a conversation about some people in church who pretend to be Christians but are really not living for God, “Buds and shoots aren’t fruits.” He meant that some people can produce what resemble fruits, like the buds or shoots of a plant. You have to be discerning to look closely enough to realise the difference between buds and shoots from fruits. Buds and shoots demonstrate the potential for trees and plants to bear fruit. This does not guarantee that a tree will produce the fruit and only time will determine the productivity of the tree.
Remember when Jesus came to the fig tree expecting to find fruit, because he was hungry and it was the season for figs. To Jesus’s disappointment, there were no figs on the tree. Jesus responds by cursing the tree. “And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it” (Mark 11:14). This may seem like a harsh response, but much of what Jesus did on earth was to demonstrate spiritual laws and was a type and shadow of things to come. In Matthew, Jesus taught his disciples about a tree and its fruits. He warned against false prophets and taught the importance of examining a person’s fruits. “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles”(Matthew 7:16)?
Jesus goes on to say that any tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and cast into a lake or fire. Jesus also made similar reference later in the same chapter. “He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up” (Matthew 15:13). In this scripture, Jesus was referring to the Pharisees who he referred to as blind guides. They were religious leaders who could not recognise the things of God or lead people to God. In other words, they were not operating in or demonstrating the fruits of the spirit.
The Holy Spirit lives inside of us and manifests himself through signs and wonders. More importantly, the evidence of the spirit is showing love to others, having the joy of the Lord and the peace of God which passes all understanding; being patient, kind and a good person; being gentle, faithful and having self-control. When a person is born again, they will start to demonstrate some fruits and for some people, these fruits will take some time to grow as they feed on the word. As we mature in God, our spirit man should grow and the fruits should be more evident in our lives. We have to submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit, do not quench the spirit and allow him to transform us into people of heavenly value.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).