BEARING FRUIT (What Happens When God’s People Grow) by Robby Gallaty; [Broadman & Holman Publishing Group; 2017]

BEARING FRUIT by pastor Robby Gallaty is part of a trio of books by books published by B&H Publishing Group on the topic of discipleship (the other two titles being Growing Up and Firmly Planted — also published by B&H Publishing). This particular title focuses on the fruit of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5:22,23. But rather than an in-depth exposition of each of the fruits mentioned in that passage, Gallaty probes a more extensive exposition of the allegory of fruit as compared to the evidences of the life of God that should be evident in the lives of Christians.

The author wants to show that sanctification — the process on Earth where the believer cooperates with the action and leading of the Holy Spirit to become more like Christ — is a natural growth function of life as a new creature in Christ. Just as a human baby would be treated as ill and nutritionally comprised if he did not learn to eat and digest adult food, and to grow physically, emotionally and mentally; so too a Christian is expected to display spiritual maturity and the evident inner changes wrought by the Holy Spirit as time goes on. As Gallaty writes, “Believers are expected to sanctify themselves in the Lord through the strength and power of the Spirit within each of us. We walk in the Spirit…when we allow God to work in us and to work through us.” And the evidences of that work and sanctification [growth] are the fruits of character and attitude called the “fruits of the Spirit” in Galatians 5.

The author makes a very good point in showing that the term “fruit” is actually used in several places in the New Testament outside of the passage in Galatians, and so a number of chapters are taken up with examining those passages and their meaning to the overall topic of spiritual growth and sanctification. After delving into a thorough explanation of the idea of abiding in Christ, the next chapters look at fruits of repentance, ministry, sanctification, righteousness, good works, love-joy-peace and others in Galatians 5; and finally, the fruit of praise. Writing in a clear and humble manner, Gallaty displays keen insights into both human behavior and psychology, as well as the truths of Scripture and church history to encourage believers to pursue a lifetime and lifestyle of growth by learning to yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and keep in step with Him on a daily basis. A quick read, but with much spiritual nourishment to be gained in less than 200 pages. Recommended especially for lay leaders and those who wish to become “disciples who make disciples.”