Galatians 5:22-23 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.
You know those coloring pages from Sunday school that had a big bowl of fruit and the fruit had smiley faces and the grapes were goodness and the apples were joy and the peaches were peace? I think that’s where I developed my understanding of the fruit of the Spirit, because I have always thought of those fruits as being handed to me fully mature.
Recently, I have been thinking about the seeds of the fruit of the Spirit.
It started at the beginning of the year when I asked the Lord about what type of things we were gonna be doing together this year. He does not always indulge this information, but I still like to ask.
I did have a deep sense that I was to let the ground rest. The past few years have been non-stop tilling the soil of the soul for me. I’ve been good at digging deep and being thorough in the process of turning over the hard ground. But you know what happened before the Great Depression, right? They didn’t let the ground rest, and they killed the land.
So this is my year to let the ground rest. I felt like the command to let the ground rest came attached to the promise: the fruit of the Spirit will flourish. That’s when I started to realize that the fruit of the Spirit doesn’t necessarily come to us in a cornucopia of maturity. Maybe we are handed a seed catalog?
What if tiny seeds of love and joy and peace are put in our hands and we get to cultivate the ground they will be planted in? What if we get to watch those seeds die in the dark soil, then water and watch them sprout? What if we get to see tiny apple seeds grow into a trembling sapling and then get sturdier and stronger with wind and rain and finally, little blossoms that turn into fruit? What if that is the fruit of the Spirit: the fruit of our planting and cultivating and weeding and yet, the fruit of a supernatural germination process that has nothing to do with us?
I have been waking early every morning and pondering how I am to make the fruit of the Spirit flourish in my life. As a very religious person, I like the process of tilling the soil and getting rid of the weeds in my heart. I prefer the constant toiling and watering and weeding. But I think my fruit trees are saplings now, and they need the wind and the rain and the sun and I am not in charge of the Wind and the Rain and the Light. This is my time to surrender, and let it all flourish. I have done my tilling with diligence and now I can watch the miracle of new growth; my hands are off. The little buds are pushing out, and I’m not even trying!
On a blanket under the trees, I see myself looking up into the sky. The trees are there, the fruit is budding, but I am lost in wonder at the brilliance of a Creator and Sustainer who works so perfectly with us, and yet without us.