Many Bad Works – One Good Fruit – Living Contentment Weekly

Many Works – One Fruit

Hi Reader,

Welcome to Living Contentment Weekly. Here are your three contentment-related thoughts for today. Something for you to: read | do | pray


Most of us are familiar with the passage from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control. – Gal 5:22-23

Earlier in the chapter Paul speaks of ‘the works of the sinful self’ and the list includes sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. (Gal 5:19-21)

It’s been pointed out to me before, how Paul speaks of works (plural) but fruit (singular). Highlighting that all those characteristics are outpourings of the working of the same Spirit.

There is so much to learn here around contentment from not relying on our works but the fruit of the spirit who works in us to remembering what a contented life looks like

I’ve been going through Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book The Cost of Discipleship and yesterday I came across a section that really stood out to me.

Works are done by human hands, fruit thrusts upward and grows all unbeknown to the tree which bears it. Works are dead, fruit is alive, and bears the seed which will bring forth more fruit. Works can subsist on their own, fruit cannot exist apart from the tree. Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only he can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of him on whom their life depends. There is no room for boasting here, but only for an ever more intimate union with him. The saints are unconscious of the fruit they bear.


The above passage is so rich, I invite you to dive into it, and really look at what it means.

Works :

  • are done by human hands
  • are dead
  • can remain on their own
  • are a result of will


  • grows not by the will of the tree
  • is alive – and bears seed for more fruit
  • cannot exist apart from the tree
  • miraculous, created – the result of growth

What in your life is evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit working in you? What things are works – that maybe you’re hoping will become fruit – if not just signs of it?

What do those answers mean about your connection to the vine?


God of abondance,
who wishes to produce good fruit in my life.
Sprit of God, living in my heart,
causing my heart to become more like you.
Bring about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, & self-control.
Not because I want to, or because I can.
But because I can’t – and I need you to.

Talk to you next Thursday!