The Best Fruit

fruit-of-the-spirit-digital-diy-wall-art-graphics-of-galatians-5-22-scripture-quote-for-home-decoration-10-00-via-etsyBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26)

We want fully-developed, eye-pleasing, scrumptious-tasting fruit. We want our spiritual lives to add beauty to the world and nourish those around us. But…

…fruit grows through seasons. Individual pieces of fruit grow to maturity at different times. Sometimes we want to shortchange the process of leading up to maturity, because it…takes…so…stinkin’…long.

Why can’t we just grow insta-fruit?

Because that’s not the fruit of the Spirit. That’s now how the Spirit works. He’s invested in our lives throughout its entirety across a variety of seasons.

As we grow fruit, we can’t just consider what nourishes and develops it but also what bruises and damages it. We can’t just ask ourselves what God might be doing in our lives that will develop our peace, joy, love, patience, and so on. We also need to consider what is robbing us of those same things. What needs to be pruned from our lives and attitudes? How do we need to rearrange our priorities?

The best fruit takes the very things it becomes: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.

Steep, Don’t Dip

One of the things I appreciated most when recently speaking north of Toronto was the excellent tea. In most places I travel (and live), when I ask for a cup of hot tea, I get a cup of hot water with a tea bag. I don’t get tea; I get potential tea.

Tea needs to steep. That’s how the flavor floods the water so it is bold and consistent. Dipping a tea bag in water that cools with every passing second doesn’t have the same effect. Steeping requires heat and time.

There is a lot in our lives that needs to be steeped with heat and time, yet we prefer to dip. We cautiously, repeatedly dip and are satisfied with the results because we see some change. We don’t worry about the potential, better results we could get with a different process, because we rationalize contentment with our smaller efforts. We don’t want to endure the heat, and we certainly don’t want to wait across much time.

The topic of the weekend at the conference was joy, and we talked about how we can’t expect to truly experience the fullness of the joy God intends by just dipping into it every now and then. We need to steep in it, so that its flavor truly permeates us.

Isn’t that the case with so much of what God provides and wants for us?

What would happen if we steeped in His love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? His mercy, grace, forgiveness, generosity, wisdom, power, justice, and compassion?

Steep or dip? It’s your choice.