Â Â â€œNot because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.â€ (Philippians 4:17)
The apostle Paul here was commending the Christians at Philippi as the only church that had sent an offering to help defray his expenses on his missionary trips. He calls such gifts â€œfruitâ€ that would abound to their â€œaccountâ€ (Greek logos, probably better rendered as â€œtestimonyâ€). Thus God considers gifts of money to scriptural ministries to be like life-giving fruits on a healthy vine.
There are other types of fruits which a Christian life can produce. Paul regarded those he had helped lead to Christ as fruits. He wrote to the Christians at Rome: â€œI purposed to come unto you . . . that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentilesâ€ (Romans 1:13).
Genuine traits of godly character are also called fruits. â€œFor the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truthâ€ (Ephesians 5:9). The classic passage, outlining the nine-fold fruit produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of a willing Christian, is Galatians 5:22-23: â€œBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.â€ It is significant that all these attributes constitute one fruit, not nine fruits.
The tremendous importance of fruit-bearing in the Christian life was especially brought out by Christ in His famous discourse on the vine and the branches in John 15:1-16. In these verses, the word â€œfruitâ€ occurs eight times. First, there is the warning: â€œEvery branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh awayâ€ (John 15:2). If there is no fruit (or if the fruit is â€œcorrupt fruitâ€) in the life, there is no assurance of any life at all.
â€œHerein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruitâ€ (John 15:8). To bring forth much fruit, we must abide (that is, â€œcontinue steadfastlyâ€) in Christ (John 15:5). HMM