The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; And he that winneth souls is wise. Proverbs 11:30 (KJV)
In the above-mentioned scripture, the writer of the book of Proverbs makes a profound remark. He makes a connection between the fruit of the righteous and soul- winning. “Soul-winning is a consequence of the fruit of the righteous”. The church in our contemporary culture engages in many evangelistic and missionary endeavours, but the impact on the landscape seem not to be really felt. This is because when Christians are not developed in the fruit of the Spirit and godly Christian character, they repel and discourage non-believers rather than attract them to Christ. And this hugely impacts on and impedes soul winning.
It is instructive to note that the preaching of the gospel goes beyond mere words. Every man’s words comes from the man’s spirit and his nature. In the same way, fruits grows on the branches of trees as the root gets water and nutrients directly from the soil environment which them flows through the trunk and goes to the branches where fruits are produced. Therefore, fruits come from the very nature of a tree, which then manifests outwardly in the branches for all eyes to see (Matthew 7:16-18).
Matthew 7:16-18 (KJV)
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”
Sadly, the reason for the weakness, meagre results, and lack of productivity in a lot of the evangelistic endeavours in the body of Christ is due to the fact that unbelievers and non-Christians alike are confused. They are “yet to see living epistles” in the offices, neighbourhoods, malls who don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk by living the life exemplified by the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles of old (2 Corinthians 3:1-3).
2 Corinthians 3:1-3 (KJV)
“Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”
For instance, when Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry lived in Nazareth and Capernaum, He was an epistle, the word encapsulated in flesh and blood, and the people observed that He led a godly life different from what was prevalent in the region. Matthew remarks that the lands of Nephthalim and Zabulon, as well as the sea beyond Jordan – those who sat in darkness – saw a great light and got attracted to the light (John 1:14; Matthew 4:13-20).
John 1:14 (MESSAGE)
“The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.”
Matthew 4:13-20 (KJV)
“And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”
It is instructive to note that it was after Jesus had lived as a light in Capernaum for sometime and modelled God and the kingdom of heaven to the inhabitants of the land that He began to preach saying, “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. Hence, it was not surprising that when Peter and his brother Andrew heard the gospel from Him, they were drawn to the light in Him, and immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
Similarly, if our evangelistic endeavours either as individuals or as a corporate body, the Church are going to produce much fruit that will bring glory to the Father in heaven, this is the model we must adopt. We must pursue hard after the fruit of the Spirit and godly Christian character both in words and deeds (John 15:8).
John 15:8 (KJV)
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
In the light of these solemn thought, let us go for godly character and fruit of the Spirit dearly beloved, if we really want to produce enduring fruits that will bring glory to God in our families, neighborhoods and work places.