In Matthew 13, Jesus tells the Parable of the Sower. The expansion & multiplication of the Word of God planted in the soil of human hearts seems to point to the exponential increase of disciples of God's Kingdom. Clearly, this parable emphasizes the proclamation of the Gospel, and it spreads & grows from life to life.
In Galatians 5, Paul describes "the fruit of the Spirit." That is, a life in step with the Spirit actively produces love, peace, patience, kindness, & so on. Furthermore, it is set free from the law of sin & death entangled with the acts of the sinful nature.
I've noticed over the last few years, that when folks are generally nice people but are not actively proclaiming the Good News of God's Kingdom to others, they tend to stress the qualitative aspect of fruit. They might emphasize Galatians 5, but pay little attention to the implications of the Parable of the Sower for making new disciples for Christ.
On the other hand, I've encountered groups that put all their emphasis on converting people to their religious cause but perhaps at the expense of producing fruit of the Spirit. As Jesus warns the Pharisees: "You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a son of hell as you are."
When we think about bearing fruit that lasts, we ought to invest in growing & possessing within us the character of Christ. As we increasingly produce the fruit of the Spirit, our words are laced with grace & hope as we share the Good News with others. We even ought to be intentional about speaking to others about the King of kings. When our life is producing the fruit of the Spirit, in keeping with repentance, our words become a life-giving reflection of the Gospel.
May we live lives that produce the fruit, overflowing and abundant, of God's Kingdom.
-Jared Looney (New York City)