He spoke about counterfeit things, and how you can tell if something's real. Products can be fake (Riders and Jets jerseys in Mexico?), but people also can put on a false front. The test is to look at the fruit - you can identify a tree by its fruit, and you can identify people by their actions.
I claim to be a Christian - but how is the quality of the fruit in my life? My actions flow out of my inner character, and prove or disprove what I claim. The 'Fruit of the Spirit' are listed in Galatians 5:22 & 23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Against such things there is no law.
The fruit of the Spirit - it is the Holy Spirit that produces these fruit:
* this means that the Holy Spirit must be present in me, &
* this means that it is impossible to manufacture these apart from the Holy Spirit - I can't do it on my own.
So how do I test the fruit? There is no magic formula or checklist, but an honest self examination will reveal the quality of these characteristics in my life. I drove my daughter out to camp yesterday, and had a great hour long drive home in silence - time to think through the list and reflect. Honestly, there are a lot of areas I would like to see an improvement in... and since I can't make them grow, I will focus on providing a good climate for growth. Just as plants need good soil, light and water, I need to soak myself in the word, feed on Jesus, the bread of life, worship, and be thankful and pray in all circumstances. That's off the top of my head - I'm curious what YOU do to provide yourself with an optimal circumstances for growth. Leave a comment for us?
So thanks, Ken, for the thought provoking message - I hope many others will take the time for reflection this week, too. (You can hear the whole message if you go to the church website, select Worship, then Messages onDemand - it wasn't up yet this morning, but should be soon.)
And because a reminder is always a great thing, I searched 'Fruit of the Spirit' on Pinterest... might find a nice print to put up in the house on there!
I also posted along these lines on As the Bus Goes By - Prayers for my Children.