“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
I have read this verse many times. Each time I read it, I realized how little fruit I actually have –and how much I am lacking in all these areas. And every time, I would sigh a little and pray a little harder that I might have this fruit. It wasn’t until I read Mark Hall’s book Thrive–that I began to understand more about what this verse means.
“Notice that the Bible does not call these attributes the “fruits of the Spirit” (plural). Taken together, they’re the “Fruit of the Spirit” (singular), meaning that where the Spirit of God is present, all of these attributes are present in some degree. Some are present more than others, but they’re all there. We also forget that we cannot hang fruit…”
(Thrive, Mark Hall with Tim Luke, Zondervan Publishers, 2014)
I laughed at myself when I read the last line. Of course! How could I forget that fruit can only be grown? I cannot wish or pray for the magical apple of; say, ‘peace’ to suddenly appear fully ripened in my life–this takes time to mature. Anything else I hang in it’s place is not real-it is fake fruit that will not satisfy me or anyone else.
How do I get this fruit to grow? I abide.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
(John 15:4 )
Abide means: “To wait for; to endure; to bear patiently; to continue…”
That is all we have to do. We wait patiently for Him to finish what He started in us. And He will. “I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6)
We plant seeds in our gardens, water the ground and pull weeds in order to help a plant to grow-but try as we might-we cannot make it grow. It is God who does this. Just as it is God who makes our spiritual fruit to grow-in His time. Isn’t it incredibly freeing to understand this?
“…We are God’s field…” (I Cor. 3:9)
Further reading: Psalm 57:2; Psalm 138:8; I Thess. 5:24; John 15