Spiritual Fruit (29-05-21)
Bible Reading: Galatians 5:22-25, John 15:5
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Have you ever been in the garden, or in an orchard, and heard the apple trees straining to produce apples? Or the plum trees straining to ripen their plums? I doubt it! With their roots firmly embedded in the soil and their branches reaching up towards the sun, the fruit grows and ripens without any effort on behalf of the tree.
The same is true in the spiritual world. The Holy Spirit produces fruit in our lives, which Paul lists as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we are honest with ourselves I am sure we would all say that we have some way to go when it comes to producing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Addressing the issue is another matter.
If striving to become more loving, more patient, or kinder makes it all seem like an effort, a chore, or a burden, maybe we can learn something from the fruit trees.
Fruitfulness comes from abiding; Jesus said if we wish to be fruitful we should abide in him. Instead of beating ourselves up because of our impatience or lack of self-control, let us see it as an invitation to come to Jesus and sink our roots deeper into his love, to reach up high to the love of our Heavenly Father, and then to leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.
And, when we think of the fruit of the Spirit, let us remember that for Paul, the fruit is singular; fruit, not fruits. Instead of thinking of the fruit of the Spirit as a bowl containing a variety of different fruits: apples, bananas, pears, oranges, plums, grapes, kiwis, pineapples, and satsumas, think of it more like an orange with nine segments.
Whilst it might be tempting to think that we are ok in most of the fruits, we are just lacking in one or two, the reality is that they are all interrelated. Can you be loving without being good, or be patient but lacking in self-control? Can you have joy without having peace or be gentle without being kind?
If we think of the fruit of the Spirit more as the segments of an orange, it means that the more we abide in the source of our life, the larger and sweeter will be the fruit that we grow, with all the segments growing together, to the glory of God.
Help me Lord, to sink my roots deep into your love, and to reach out to the love of my Heavenly Father, that the fruit of your Spirit might grow in my life to abundance.
May the mind of Christ my Saviour, live in me from day to day.