Every so often believers need to make sure they are growing up spiritually. Perhaps it is time for your fruit inspection. Use the following Fruit Development Assessment (F.D.A.) to determine the condition of your spiritual fruit. Check the fruit you need the most nourishment to grow.
“Dear children let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
Is your love unconditional? Or is your love most evident when everything goes your way? This type of fruit keeps on loving even when it’s difficult to show affection to others. The capacity to love grows out of the agape love from the heavenly Father.
“For the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Can you have joy in the chaos? Or does your moodiness hover over everyone like a cloud? Not that anyone should be joyful about the hard times, but rather your joy comes from #1) God is with you through it and #2) God uses every trial to help you become stronger in the faith.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-8).
Is your inner person wrecked with anxiety and worry when everything falls apart? Or can you rest in God’s peace? There is no peace for the wicked; however, for believers it is available every time you pray and leave your concerns with God.
Forbearance – Long-suffering
“Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:11).
Can you be still and wait on God? Or are you tempted to always move ahead so you can stay in control? Forbearance is a fruit that will grow with your experience of being stretched in faith especially in times of trial. Forbearance is another word for patience; you don’t have to pray for patience…it’s there already!
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (2 Timothy 2:24).
Do others sense your kindness in words and actions? Or are they more accustomed to your angry response? A gentle word, a soft answer, or a helping hand—all demonstrate the fruit of kindness in this culture of rudeness and selfishness.
“Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God” (3 John 11).
Are your conversations marked with genuine virtue and honor? Or is your conversation tainted with worldly language, immoral tendencies, or gossip? Goodness doesn’t mean that you are perfect, but rather someone who sincerely reflects the integrity of God within. A believer who demonstrates the fruit of goodness has the tendency to believe the best about people.
“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Does your reputation reflect dependability and steadfastness in the faith? Or do people expect you to be late, undependable, or to drop off the map on a project? Your faithfulness represents God’s Spirit dwelling within. Those who cultivate the fruit of faithfulness are compelled to complete every good work for His glory.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5).
Is your meek spirit felt around those who live or work with you? Or do they feel that you are a hard and legalistic person to deal with? A spirit of gentleness gives grace freely and consistently. Believers and unbelievers should feel at ease around you because of your presence of gentleness.
Self-Control – Temperance
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12)
Do you control your appetites? Or do they control you? Believers can demonstrate of life of self-control and discipline in a world where everyday is an opportunity for gluttony. You have the power through the Spirit to control your cravings.
Are you at 10%, 50% or 100% in your fruit productivity? What matters most is that you don’t give up growing spiritual fruit. You cultivate it with the light of Jesus, the wind from the Spirit, the bread from the Word of God, and the fellowship of the saints.