“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. 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.” (Galatians 5:22-25 NIV)
Fall is in full swing and in this part of the country, that means apple orchards and pumpkin patches are buzzing with activity. The long labor of the farmers during spring and summer is coming to fruition with the fall harvest. That is the nature of farming—one plants and later one reaps. There is a spiritual lesson in this as well.
There is much agricultural metaphor used in the Scriptures. Jesus used numerous parables involving terms farmers would easily understand: sowing, reaping, weeds, thorns, and fruit. It would seem there are many parallels between the agricultural and the spiritual. And one that stands out very clearly is this concept of sowing and reaping. There is a direct correlation between what is planted and what is harvested. In speaking about false prophets, Jesus said, “By their fruit you will recognize them,” and then adds this rhetorical question: “Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16) The spiritual truth here is by the fruit of people’s lives you can tell what is planted in them.
So, when Paul speaks of the fruit of the Spirit, these are expected results of having the Holy Spirit planted in us (Ephesians 1:13). As followers of Jesus, then, we must examine whether or not this fruit is apparent in our lives. It should be, if we truly have committed our lives to Jesus. If not, then something is wrong. An apple tree that doesn’t bear good apples is a sick tree and needs attention. In the same way, if our lives are not consistently marked by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then we are inhibiting the Spirit’s work in us (I Thessalonians 5:19). We cannot escape the fact our lives should reap the fruit of the Spirit if indeed He is planted within us.
Today, examine your life and look for the fruit of the Spirit. Is it growing and flourishing in your day-to-day life? Or does it barely show? If it is the latter, then something is wrong because the seed of the Holy Spirit always produces His fruit. The challenge for you is to find out what in your life is inhibiting its growth. And the best way to do that is to ask the Lord to show what you are doing to inhibit the Spirit's work in your life.
© Jim Musser 2014