“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Have you ever found yourself run-down and unable to bear the fruit of the Spirit?

It is possible that you have forgotten the importance of being surrounded by a strong community of believers.

Dr. John Townsend, author of , discusses how a strong community can greatly impact our productivity and our fruitfulness in what we do for the Kingdom of God on earth.

He refers to the parable of the barren fig tree, Luke 13:6-9, as an illustration of the importance of having a strong community of believers around us. In the parable, Jesus tells of a fig tree that is not in good soil. That fig tree must be fertilized with rich nutrients, and watered frequently otherwise it will wither away and fail to produce good fruit.

What is good soil?

If we are like a fig tree, we also need to be planted in good soil.

We must surround ourselves with the good soil of healthy relationships with other Christians who are willing to encourage and challenge us. Most importantly, we also must maintain a healthy relationship with the Lord who sustains us.

“Those relationships we have are the potassium and the water. If you’ve got those on a regular basis and you’re really letting people get into your skin, get into your head and you are allowing them to encourage you and challenge you in forgiveness and wisdom  – you can bear good fruit.”

If our soil isn’t good, we can’t expect to bear good fruit.

How can we keep our soil healthy?

One of the most common ways Christians end up failing to bear fruit is they spend too much time giving. While we are called to be like Christ, dying to ourselves, and sacrificing for others, it doesn’t mean we should say yes to everyone and everything no matter what it costs us. We have to know better.

“Yes, we are called to give, go the second mile and the third mile. We are called suffer.”

Dr. Townsend points out that we are also supposed to guard our hearts and care for our selves.

“We are supposed to be givers, but if you give to the level that you are messing your life up – you have nothing to give.”

We will be empty and unable to bear good fruit; we will be a barren fig tree.

If we focus on our relationship with the Lord, surrounding ourselves with the good soil of a strong community, God will sustain us and bear fruit in and through us.

Key Scriptures: Philippians 2:11-12Proverbs 4:23Matthew 5:61 Peter 4:10

Featured Songs: Live Forever by Matthew West; Something Beautiful by Steven Curtis Chapman; Not for a Moment by Meredith Andrews

Highlight : What if I can’t bear fruit?

Re-cultivating healthy relationships