“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
This verse from Paul’s letter to the early church is the theme verse for our current worship series and our annual giving campaign. That all of these gifts from God bestowed to God’s people would be called “fruits” should not be overlooked. Fruit, though a wonder of nature, takes time to develop. And the best fruit requires the most patience (note: patience is one of the fruits listed).
God’s presence in your life doesn’t just magically make this full litany of gifts appear in abundance and in ready-to-enjoy ripeness. Instead, developing fruits such as these is a process played out over time. The key point to remember is that God has placed the seeds of these fruits within us. Now they need to grow. They need nurturing and they need time.
Knowing that seeds of peace or kindness or generosity are already within you, what else needs to happen so that these fruits might ripen? For some of us, it might mean quieting the competing forces of anger, distrust, or jealousy. For others is might mean exercising the muscles that lead to developing greater aptitude with these qualities. How might you practice joy, gentleness or self-control this day?
Maybe for today, take one “fruit” from Paul’s list. Think about the evidence that proves this gift is already in you. Then consider what you might be able to do today to exercise this gift and put into practice some of what God is imagining you will be able to accomplish as a result.
You might also make a ranking of each fruit’s relative “ripeness” within you. Which fruits are the most ripe and which fruits need more nurturing and more time? There’s something to be said for focusing on your strengths but don’t deny that value that each of these seeds needs our attention as one affects the others. How impressive is love without comparable kindness? How great is peace without gentleness? How big is your generosity without self-control?
Trust that God has planted these seeds within you and trust that with care and attention, God will be accomplishing wondrous things as a result.
May you experience a taste of ripe fruit today. -Pastor Peter