“As we’ve talked about before,” Stan commented one morning, “I think that the apostle Paul was given a remarkable ability to communicate much in just a few words. I saw that again earlier this morning when I was reading one of his letters he wrote to me, one he also sent to the church in Ephesus. But, it seems to me, that he used one word to mean something different.”
“One word to mean something different?” I repeated. “How so?”
“At one point in his letter,” Stan replied, “Paul wrote about the ‘unfruitful deeds of darkness.’ And in one short partial sentence, a single phrase, he covered something that is essential for me in looking at everything I do on this side of eternity while I’m waiting for the train.”
“That’s right,” Stan responded. “Paul put it in terms of being ‘unfruitful,’ but I think that everything I do produces some kind of fruit. The question that matters the most is what kind of fruit is being produced by what I do.”
“What are the choices?” I asked.
“Good versus bad; dark versus light; the fruit of the Spirit versus the fruit of self and the fruit of the world, the flesh, and the devil. All sorts of choices! Paul wrote not to participate in the ‘unfruitful deeds of darkness’, but he obviously knew that the deeds of darkness do produce fruit, just not the kind of fruit that God intends for His people to produce.”
“So,” I responded, “would it be fair to say that if what I want to do apart from God has to be done in the darkness because I don’t want anyone to see, it can pretty much be guaranteed that the fruit I will produce is not going to please God.”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “I need to look at everything I do or think about doing and give it to the Holy Spirit for His guidance. Is it going to be fruitful from God’s perspective and unfruitful from Satan’s, or is it going to be the opposite: unfruitful from God’s perspective, but very fruitful from Satan’s?”
Concluding, he added, “That’s the question that I seek to guide me in all I do on this side of eternity in being who, doing what, God intends. It’s kind of like running everything I think about doing through a sort of filter, the filter of the Holy Spirit, so He can guide me regarding the kind of fruit I choose for my life here to produce.”
Bible verses to consider:
And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them. Ephesians 5:11.
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14.
The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against these things there is no law. Galatians 5:19-23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you have provided the Holy Spirit to live within me to produce His fruit for your purposes. Thank you, too, that you show me what unfruitfulness for you looks like, how the fruit of darkness contrasts to the fruit of your light. I confess that too often I am attracted to the fruit of the world, the flesh, and the devil, along with the fruit of self. Please help me in following every step of your lead so the fruit that is produced by my life is pleasing to you, not to Satan. Help me so that the fruit of your Spirit prevails in my life for as long as you keep me on this side of eternity. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Everything any of us do produces some sort of fruit. Do you agree with that? Why or why not? What kind of fruit is your life producing? Is that fruit pleasing to God? Are you pleased with that fruit? If you sense there is a need to change the kind of fruit your life is producing, how is that going to happen? Can you do it on your own? If no, what help do you need? Do you want that help?