But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; against such things there is not law.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. ~ Galatians 5:22, 25; NASB
It’s coming on to spring time, and I’m out doing my daily rounds. Checking the twigs of naked branches, looking for swells of life. I grow fruit as a hobby—apples, peaches, cherries and Saskatoon berries; they’re scattered around our property. Watching life slowly emerge from their winter-rested wood thrills me.
I’ve learned the difference between a leaf bud and a blossom bud—depending on the fruit (some fruits hide their blossom bud inside the leaf bud. Sneaky little things). The first time I spied a peach blossom bud on my tree, I was so excited. We’d have peaches that year!
But we didn’t. Frost. It’s a killer—literally.
The next year, those blossoms swelled again, and hallelujah! We had fruit that year. It was good fruit—sweet, tender, juicy peaches straight off our backyard tree.
The following year our trees rested, but then the next, more blossoms. Oh, we could almost taste those wonderful peaches as we walked beneath the pink blossoms of spring! But something went wrong. We had fruit, but it wasn’t good. You see, that year began an extended season of drought. We don’t irrigate our orchard, and it rained maybe two or three times during the season. The trees bore fruit, but the peaches were small, dry, grainy and not delicious.
I think back on that poor crop of fruit when I read the last part of Galatians five. I used to think that if I was bearing some kind of fruit, I must be doing okay. If I was serving in my church, that was fruit, right? Never mind that inside I’m seething with resentment. If I was singing praise in a painful situation, that’s good fruit. Just ignore that in my heart I’m nursing bitterness. If I’m rejoicing with my words for someone else’s success, that’s good fruit, isn’t it? Skip over the fact that my insides are green with envy.
The fruit of the Spirit is good fruit. Well shaped, sweet and juicy. On my own, the best fruit I end up offering resembles those drought wrought peaches.
Producing fruit isn’t enough. I need a drenching of my soul, the filling of the Holy Spirit before I can present good fruit. Fruit that is useful. Fruit that is pleasant. Fruit that is of the Spirit.