Fruit Stands and Orchards
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23 NIV
I’d like to walk up to a fruit (of the Spirit) stand and place my order. “One pound of joy and peace today, and a one of those ripe kindness fruits. No, you’d better make that two–I’ve got a church committee meeting tonight.”
I’d like to plunk down my cash and walk away with a basketful of fruits of the Spirit already grown. I’d like somebody else to do the hands-in-the-dirt, protracted orchard work.
I confess. I don’t like the hard, long, waiting times, the-start-small-and-watch-it-grow times, but God does. Fruit is grown, not materialized in a science fiction replicator.
* * * * *
We used to have an apple tree in a low, sheltered spot in the corner of a field. The tree was covered by handsome, red apples every year. The walk from the dirt road and along the fence was short, and the low branches made it easy to pick. However, this tree had a major flaw. The apples didn’t taste good.
The seedling had probably grown from an apple core thrown out a truck window. The fruit had the attractive shape and color of a Delicious apple, but no pleasant taste or aroma. It is extremely rare for a tree grown from an apple seed to have desirable fruit.
So how are apples grown? Branches or buds from a tree selected for its good qualities (the scion) are grafted onto another tree. There are many methods of grafting, but all take advantage of the tissues of the two types of trees growing together, ending with the characteristics of the scion tree being transferred to the other.
The two parts are joined together and become one tree within a matter of months. The two parts–me/you and Jesus–are stuck together and grow together.
The Spirit of God in us changes our wild, weedy, undesirable ways and gives us God’s own character. We get the good fruit that we couldn’t grow on our own.
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
Galatians 5:22-23 MSG
My prayer for us all:
May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! Romans 15:13 MSG
photos by Barb Briggs
linking with Jennifer Lee Dukes