When we die, Christ will inspect our "fruit" and evaluate what we have produced with the gifts God gave us.
That's what authentic fruits are: a direct effect of the gifts He has instilled in and on us.
"By their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:15). We revisit this topic from time to time.
Q: What is your major fruit?
A: The life you are living.
Words are one thing; how we live and think are another.
Your past doesn't matter as much as your present. In fact a rocky past can even make for a heartier plant!
And a heartier plant bears more fruit.
"Fruits" are dependant on many things, none more than the earth in which the plant grows, as a priest was recently pointing out.
Our experiences, our struggles, and our victories go into the soil.
The question is how we are currently tilling the soil and nurturing the plants.
Do we water with "living waters"?
Look at bad things as manure: something that when buried -- when covered with fresh soil -- fertilizes.
Don't be obsessed or depressed with bad aspects of your life.
Till it under.
We all have "rocky" elements to our pasts -- pebbles, stones, perhaps boulders. They can be crosses we carried. This is one way to see Jesus in others: to meditate not on what seem like their shortcomings, but on the crosses they have borne or bear -- the suffering that has been tilled into their souls. Often, we detest in others what we actually detest in ourselves. That's worth a separate meditation. (What do you most hate in others?)
When we have done nothing to cultivate our "soil," and to pull out weeds, the fruits are inferior (or at best mixed).
What else does the Bible say about "fruits"?
The apostle Paul listed some of these characteristics in his letter to the Galatians: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).
Now contrast that with bad fruit. Paul listed this as "works of the flesh," including "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like" (Galatians 5:19-21). We could add "covetousness." You have heard of wolves in sheep's clothing?
Fruits don't lie. Never mind outward appearance; fruits -- lasting effects -- tell us who they and who we really are.
In evaluating others and ourselves, or judging situations, making decisions in life -- discernment -- we have to be "fruit inspectors." We know if there are apples that it is an apple tree, if there are coconuts, that it's a coconut palm. A pear doesn't come from an elm!
But does that mean we can tell everything by the surface?
Sometimes it takes a coconut hitting us on the head.
Some fruits are poisonous, some medicinal. It has little to do with the beauty of the tree.
It's like the produce at the supermarket. Take a tomato. Can we know how good it by first glance? Sometimes. But beautiful fruit can be unripe or bitter. Often, the less-than-perfect in appearance are the healthiest as well as tastiest (i.e.: "ugly tomatoes").
On the other hand, perfectly round ones may taste like cardboard because they were raised on chemicals, picked before they were ripe, and are genetically modified. They're unhealthy.
The same is true of bananas: often, ones that are "bruised," a bit over-ripe, and therefore less than perfect in appearance, end up the most delectable. Asparagus isn't very aesthetic but is among the most nutritious vegetables you can eat, as is strange smelling cauliflower or broccoli. Look at how potently healthy garlic is (and how smelly, unsightly).
Trials? Suffering? We might say, in some cases, to produce wine: a grape must be crushed.
Coconuts are hard-shelled and difficult to open (as are some people) -- a real struggle -- but so healthful; the same is true with messy pomegranates.
Meanwhile, totally odd, unfamiliar, foreign fruit (for example, the pepino, or African horned cucumber, which you may see in the oddities of the produce department) can be terrific for taste and health.
It is the effect of a fruit -- and a person; the long-lasting result, not the immediate lift, nor glamour, nor smile, nor laugh -- that is the essence of the fruit. All else is chimerical. A friendly person can simply be a good politician (or actor). Fruit is how a person affects us.
Jesus, rejected by so many, even vilified, was unattractive as He died; but what were His effects?
He was no "Dr. Feelgood." He wore no make-up. He was concerned with our eternities, not the immediacies of the physical, not with glad-handing, not with a quick fix. It was a tough slog, to Calvary.
He saved His heartiest laugh, His widest smile, for those, upon inspecting, He would welcome into Heaven.
[resources: A Life of Blessings]