When you walk into most grocery stores, the very first section you come to is the fruit and vegetable section. I don’t know why this is. I have heard that grocery stores will purposely place the “must have” items in the back so that people have to walk the whole store to get them. So that Joe, who comes in for milk in the middle of the night because his wife discovered the empty gallon that was, for some reason, placed back in the fridge, has to walk the whole store to get the milk and has a higher chance of remembering something else that the family needs on his journey through the grocery store. But that doesn’t explain why the fruit and vegetables are in the front. I don’t know why they are placed there, but they are.
This section has another name. It is generally called the produce section. What an interesting name. I can only assume that it is called the produce section because fruit and vegetables are produced by plants. They are planted and the direct result of that produces life. The fruit or vegetable is determined by how healthy the plant is and what kind of plant it is. The fruits and vegetables really let you in on how healthy the plant was that produced it.
Fruits and vegetables are produced by plants and this helps us understand how the Bible speaks of fruit produced in our lives. Whether it is Romans 6:19-20, where Paul is warning about the different kind of fruit that can be produced, death or life, or Galatians 5:23, where Paul is speaking about what the Spirit is producing in us and through us, the Bible speaks about producing fruit. It speaks of the fact that we, as Christians, are called to produce fruit that shows and demonstrates that we have been changed. We are called to have fruit, the things that we produce out of our life, that show that the Spirit is working inside of us and transforming us bit by bit to be like Christ.
Produce is naturally produced. Apple trees don’t have to think to produce apples. Asparagus doesn’t have to plan to produce asparagus. It is the natural result of what it is. And the same is true for a Christian. From one point of view, the natural result of being a changed person, a saved person, a new creation, regenerated by the Spirit, an adopted son or daughter, is that we have the fruit of that new life being produced in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit is being produced in our lives because we have the Spirit dwelling inside. It is producing this fruit in you and through you.
But the quality of produce is determined by how well the famer tended to the crop. High quality fruit is produced from a cared-for crop. In the same way, we are to care for our crop. We do those things that help produce high quality fruit. These things don’t produce the fruit, but they are tools and practices that help ensure the crop is healthy. Just like a farmer who waters well and sprays for pests produces a better crop, Christians who immerse themselves in the living water of the Scriptures and guard what enters their minds help produce higher quality fruit in their lives.
This means we can rest assured that we will produce fruit because of God finishing the work he started in our lives. This also means we are to actively pursue him and his ways so that we can produce the best fruit possible.