by Pastor Mark Shupe
My first recollection of eating any kind of fruit happened when I was a kid at my grandmother’s house. I noticed she had a nice-looking bowl of fruit on the counter and I grabbed a delicious looking banana and took a bite. But my teeth made no penetration into the banana and I quickly discovered it was plastic! The trauma of that experience might explain why I did not care much for fruit growing up.
As I progressed through childhood, my mother insisted my fruit of choice change from the fake plastic variety to canned fruit cocktail. I pretty much consumed that kind of fruit until I spent a summer in Thailand in 1988 where I had my first experience eating the fresh, luscious, and juicy fruit from a street vendor’s stand. What a noticeable difference when I experienced the real thing – fruit as it was meant to be enjoyed and experienced.
The Bible reminds us there is a fruit that is even sweeter, tastier, and more luscious that God wants to offer to each of us – a fruit that will enrich our lives and improve the quality of our relationships. That is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23
Consider more closely each piece of fruit:
- Love – brotherly love, affection, to be fond of, to extend goodwill
- Joy – gladness, deep inner rejoicing not dependent on circumstances
- Peace – tranquility; harmony; exemption from havoc and war; harmony
- Patience – endurance, long-suffering; steadfastness, perseverance
- Kindness – useful; profitable; mellows all that would be harsh
- Goodness – virtue; uprightness of heart and life
- Faithfulness – conviction of the truth, strong belief
- Gentleness – mildness of disposition, meekness; an inwrought grace of the soul
- Self-control – able to master desires and passions, especially sensuous appetites
Observations about this fruit:
- The first fruit begins with Love and flows outward from there. As author Margaret Feinberg says, “love never travels alone.” The remainder of God’s fruit (joy, peace, patience, etc.) accompanies a heart of love.
- This is a fruit that has to be cultivated and developed internally – fruit of the heart that is a reflection of our character.
- This godly fruit will show forth in how we relate to God and others. It is what allows us to be salt and light; a pleasing aroma and reflection of the very heart of God.
How to grow good fruit:
- We must stay in a vital connection with the Vine – Christ Himself. Jesus drives this home in John 15:5 – “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in Him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” To abide means to remain in and dwell in the presence and person of Christ. We need to make sure we continue to nurture our relationship with Christ through times of prayer and reading Scripture.
- Fruit needs pruning (to be cleansed from filth). Don’t resist the pruning work of God in developing a more vibrant and healthy version of you – a heart that is reflecting and showing forth the true fruit of the Spirit.
- Ask God to show you areas of your life, motives, desires, and actions that are in need of His loving pruning.