What is your favorite fruit? I love so many different fruits; I find it hard to answer that question. The fruits that top my list include raspberries, strawberries, passion fruit, and figs. Sometimes, I think I could survive on just fruits alone in my diet but then I realize I might miss some meat and some veggies too. I even planted a fig tree so I could eat fresh fig whenever I wanted but unfortunately, they take a long time to ripen, and my patience wears out while I wait. I want them to be ready on my schedule, but instead, I need to wait until they mature to enjoy them.
My fig tree reminds me of Biblical times since Jesus talks about figs with the disciples. Recently, as I checked my fig tree for signs of ripening, I thought about the story of the fruits of the spirit. We find the nine fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5. Once we accept Christ into our lives, the Holy Spirit moves in and starts tilling the soil of our hearts. He plants the seeds in the fertile ground and waits for them to grow and ripen as I expect for my fig tree. As we become more like Christ in our Christian walk, the seeds mature and produce the fruits of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Like any garden, we must guard against weeds growing up and killing off the ripened fruits. Our old sin nature can arise to choke out the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. The garden of our hearts requires constant pruning. We must allow the Holy Spirit to grow us and shape us into the image of Christ. When His work becomes accomplished in our lives, the fruits will mature and become visible to the world around us. Our purpose in this life is summed up in John 3:30 (NIV) ” He must become greater; I must become less.” When the fruit of the Holy Spirit grow in my life, people will see Christ in me and want to learn of Him.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NIV) “17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Over the next several weeks, we will look at each of the Fruits of the Spirit in detail in hopes of gaining an understanding of how they grow within each of us. Hopefully, by the time we finish our study, the fruit on my fig tree will be ripe enough for me to pick.
The first fruit we will discuss is love. In this sense, we are looking at our love for our friends and our neighbors, not romantic love. Love gets mentioned 319 times in the NIV version of the Bible. Love remains a central theme throughout it also, and I think that is why it is the first fruit. Jesus died for us on the cross because of God’s love for us. Love is also one of the most recognizable characteristics of a Christian. John 13:35 demonstrates this by telling us “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Everything we do should reflect the love of Christ to others. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. The entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 proclaims that without love we are nothing as well as explains what our love should look like. Love is the anchor for all the other fruits because without love, none of the others are possible. When we have love for everyone, our hearts are ready for the Holy Spirit to do His work within us. Love is the fertilizer that grows all the other fruits.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV) “1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
Yvonne – #blogger, #speaker, and #author
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”