INTRODUCTION & OVERVIEW
We live in a culture that is held hostage by doing. We constantly hear messages that tell us we have to do more to be good enough, strong enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, to be accepted. We trying so hard to live up to the standards our culture sets, we ended up exhausted…and disappointed. No buzzer beater, no A+ paper, no popularity contest will ever give us the feeling of acceptance and significance that we so desperately long for and strive for in our lives.
The Holy Spirit works in us not just so we can “do good” but so that we can “bear fruit.” However, bearing fruit is not something we “do.” It’s the result of who we are in Christ. Therefore, Jesus tells us to remain in him and we will bear fruit. That fruit is the result of our faithful response to the work of the Holy Spirit that takes place in the wheelbarrow of God’s Grace in Christ! When we die to ourselves, we are made new in Christ. The weeds of our former life are replaced with seeds of new life that bear fruit in the world. We are called to be “fruit-bearers.” When we do that, we join God in God’s mission in the world of restoring and reconciling to God. Our response: to “Bear (and to “be”) Fruit for the Kingdom!”
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything.” – John 15:4-5 CEB
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the self with its passions and its desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:22-25 CEB
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 CEB
- Get a partner. Answer this: “If you were fruit, what would you be and why?”
- Which one of the “fruit” in Galatians 5:22-25 resonates with you the most?
- What is the difference between “being good” and “bearing fruit”?
- What areas of your life are “bearing fruit” for God’s Kingdom?
- In what areas of your life are are you “doing” for your own kingdom?
- What would it take for you to join the movement of the Spirit?
- What’s one way you can respond to “living out” the “life within” of the Spirit?
- What would it look like for you to ADVANCE from doing to being?