Where are you today?
Are you THRIVING or are you STRIVING?
Because our striving tree is not real . . . alive . . . or free, it also will never be fruitful. It looks great on the outside, but has no future.
God has made living things to reproduce themselves. He’s planned a future and a hope for them through seeds that perpetuate life–seeds that are held in the fruit of the tree.
God also desires to produce fruit in our lives to give us a future and a hope with Him.
John 15:16 in the Message paraphrases this for us:
“You didn’t choose me, remember, I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.”
We know we are thriving when we produce fruit.
This isn’t just any old fruit we’re talking about, is it? This is God-fruit, also known as the Fruit of the Spirit. We find it described in Galatians 5.
In Christian circles, we have a tendency to make this passage into something of a checklist of desirable qualities . . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
But notice with me that these words aren’t a list of qualities we mark off when we get them right. Any person, without help of the Holy Spirit, can perfect one or two of these qualities, don’t you think? There are many people who live at peace or are very kind in their own strength. Some could put most Spirit-filled Christians to shame.
But only the Spirit of God can help us exhibit ALL those qualities. This is one FRUIT of the Spirit, not many fruits. So, rather than a checklist, this is a list of qualities that describe ONE wonderful fruit.
Have you ever tried to describe a new kind of food to someone? For example, remember when KIWI came on the scene? You may have tried to describe it to someone who hadn’t tasted it before:
“It’s sweet like a strawberry, but with sort of a peachy feel, and the seeds in the middle are like banana seeds so you can eat them, but the outside is fuzzy so don’t eat that!”
So . . . if we were to describe the FRUIT of the Kiwi, we might list the attributes of strawberry, peach, banana, fuzziness.
Each quality, by itself, doesn’t fully describe the fruit. Each component contributes to the whole.
So the FRUIT of the SPIRIT needs all the qualities together to fully describe a person. Instead of a checklist, we have a description of someone who lives like Jesus did–fully exhibiting the FRUIT of the Spirit:
“affection for others,
exuberance about life,
. . . a willingness to stick with things,
a sense of compassion in the heart,
and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.
. . . involved in loyal commitments,
not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” The Message Paraphrase
When we allow the Spirit to work in our lives, he blends these qualities together like a fruit smoothie to create something wonderful:
A THRIVE SMOOTHIE!