We’ve all heard of sayings like: ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ or ‘like father, like son’ – quotes depicting the fact that a child usually mirrors qualities and traits of their parent. It’s true; children usually mirror their parents in some way, whether physically or in their personality. The same is true (or should be true) for believers when it comes to our Heavenly Father. He is the tree and we are the fruit of that tree. When we give our lives to God, we become His and He transforms us so that we can look like Him.
A Good Tree Does Not Bear Bad Fruit
Matthew 7:17-18, “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” If God is the tree, it is impossible for Him to bear bad fruit. The fruit that He bears is GOOD – it’s not sweet and bitter at the same time; nor is it righteous and unrighteous at the same time. IT’S GOOD! It’s pure, and it reflects who He is. Therefore, it is impossible for us – the fruit that grows from Him – to be corrupt. It is impossible for us to say we are of God, yet yield fruit that is contrary to the God we say we belong to. Apples come from apple trees; the fruit of righteousness comes from a righteous God. Grapes don’t come from apple trees; it’s impossible. In the same way, the fruit of unrighteousness does not come from a righteous God.
When parents have children, they expect their children to look like them. They expect their children to look like they are a part of the family. Since the creation of man, God’s original intent was for man to be made in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). There was an expectation for us to be like Him in character, behavior, and in spirit. Unfortunately, Adam disobeyed God; so, God put another plan in motion – He sent Jesus Christ! Before Christ, we couldn’t live up to God’s expectation for us; but after Christ, we now have everything we need to meet our Father’s expectations. “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4, NLT). What Christ did now allow us to fully live up to God’s expectation of righteousness!
Now We Have No Excuse!
There’s no excuse for saying we belong to God but live completely contrary to His ways. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s finished work on the cross, sin no longer has power over us! Now we can really look like our Father, and now we can really live like Christ our example! Now, we have His Spirit, which makes us sons and makes it possible for us to bear the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:16-26 clearly lays out the difference between the works (or fruit) of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. They are like night and day—completely contradictory to one another. It is impossible to habitually walk in the Spirit and habitually walk in the flesh at the same time, just as it is impossible for a tree to bear apples AND grapes – it either bears one or the other, but never both. So, if we say we are children of God, we have every reason to look like Him and God has every reason to expect that we look like Him. Belonging to God and having His Spirit comes with EVIDENCE. God expects us to show forth that evidence every day in how we live, conduct ourselves before others, and in how we handle situations. He does a daily work in us to make sure we reflect Him before the world. He transforms us from glory to glory and faith to faith, shedding off our old nature and producing in us His nature. HE does this work in us when we belong to Him.
Evaluate the fruit that you are bearing. Does it look like the works of the flesh or like the fruit of the Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5:16-26? If we are honest with ourselves, we should all be able to look at our lives and determine if we really look like the Father. Looking like the Father doesn’t mean perfection. Looking like the Father means we submit to Him daily by dying to our flesh so that He can renew our minds to give us the mind of Christ; it means we are taking on His nature day by day. If you say you belong to God but there has been no progress in you looking like Him after a substantial amount of time, you may want to re-evaluate your conversion. If you say you belong to God but there is no difference between how you live and how someone in the world lives, it’s time for a self-check. If you are not bearing His fruit you must ask yourself, “what tree am I connected to?”
You will know when God is truly in you – your life will begin to look different; you won’t look the same or even feel the same; what comes out of you will not be the same; you won’t feel comfortable doing the same things you used to do. Looking like God and belonging to Him doesn’t mean you were raised in church or you hold a title or position in the church; it doesn’t mean you went up to the altar to say a prayer; it doesn’t even mean you simply believe that Jesus is real. The evidence that you look like God and belong to Him is in your life; it’s in your desire to please Him and yield to His Spirit; it’s in the fruit that you bear. That fruit is what signifies that you have His Spirit, and having His Spirit marks you as His own.
Romans 8:9, “However, you are not [living] in the flesh [controlled by the sinful nature] but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God lives in you [directing and guiding you]. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him [and is not a child of God]” (AMP).
It’s impossible to belong to Him and have His Spirit, yet not bear the fruit of His Spirit. You cannot be connected to the Vine, yet produce fruit that’s completely contrary to what He would yield. When we belong to The Father, we should mirror Him in every way.