16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
My grandparents have the most amazing fruit and vegetable garden ever. Okay, maybe I’m a little biased, but it’s pretty great. There’s these two huge fig trees and if you go out when the figs are ripe you can sit there for hours and hours eating figs to your heart’s content. The figs were pretty good, but they were never my favorite part of the garden. There were also these two apple trees that were great for climbing and every once in awhile you could get a couple apples worth eating from them, but they definitely weren’t my favorite part either. The best part was a grape vine that stretched across two metal poles making a beautiful canopy. You could sit under the vine and pick grapes and eat them by the handful in the shade in the summer, and I loved eating grapes there. While it’s pretty obvious that I knew the grapevine was a grapevine because it had grapes, and the apple tree was an apple tree because it had apples, and the fig trees were fig trees because they had figs; this principle has a large implication when we apply it to our spiritual life. So often us Christians produce apples or figs from our vine when we are supposed to produce grapes. For a person what we “produce” or “grow” is what we do. As people who have been saved by Jesus we should produce spiritual fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. When we produce fruit like selfishness, anger, strife, impatience and hatred we aren’t being the type of “trees” Christ saved us to be. It’s not that we have to try harder on our own. That grape vine wasn’t struggling to produce grapes; that’s just what it did when the conditions were right. Our job is simply to make sure the conditions are right (rely on God, be willing to follow him, listen for his direction) so that through the Holy Spirit God can produce acceptable fruit in us.