I LOVE fruit pie. Two of my favorite are the basic apple pie and cherry pie. Especially when the pie is so pregnant with fruit that it looks like it will burst any moment. The pie is not filled with air or some imitation fruit-like filling. No, it is filled with real apples or real cherries. (Wow! I'm making myself drool as I write this!) It is visually obvious that these pies are the real deal. They are not fake. An as I look at the pie, I can see it is real and it calls me to take a bite!
In Philippians 1:11, Paul wants the Philippian Christians to be "filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God." He wants their character and love to be so pregnant in their lives that it cannot be contained. It is not some man-made imitation character and love. No, it is produced and lived out through the power of the Holy Spirit and to the glory and praise of God. It is not hidden. It is visually evident to those around them. And the visual evidence actually draws people to Jesus. It does not turn them away.
Some of this "fruit of righteousness" is the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 where Paul writes, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." All of these "fruit" are active and visual. For example, love isn't Christ-like love if its silent and secret. Joy isn't real Christ-infused joy if its silent and secret. And so on. This "fruit" is demonstrative, alive, obvious to those around us. And it is obvious in a way that attracts our friends, neighbors, co-workers, family TO Jesus. It does not turn them away. (The only thing that should turn people away and offend those we are trying to reach for Jesus is the message of the cross which is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to everyone else.)
This is a challenge for me - especially in the area of being visually obvious in the living out of this "fruit of righteousness" - and to the point of attracting people TO Jesus. How is my love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control - how are all those demonstrative in my life? Today, as I interact with Sandy, my neighbors, those at the store, and anyone else I come in contact with - and then tomorrow as I interact with those who come to Meadow - I want the "fruit of righteousness" to be even more evident. I want to attract people TO Jesus not turn them away.