One-a-Day...for the Heart: Fresh Produce
Summer is here, and the produce in markets is at its finest quality—best tasting, best nutritional values, best variety, and best prices. Everything a fruit tree does all year long, it does best in the summer. Strawberry and raspberry patches are unnoticed much of the year until they burst forth in the summer with plump and juicy berries we just can’t resist. Cherries, plums, pears, blueberries, melons—all display their vibrant summer colors and over-the-top sweetness. What is better than a summer fruit salad?
As Christians, we, too, display “fruit,” though not of a physical nature. When the Holy Spirit begins working in our lives, certain evidences of His influence become apparent. The closer we walk with the Lord and allow His Spirit to shape our character, the sweeter His fruit becomes. Depending on how much we are willing to surrender to Him—our life, our emotions, our employment, our hobbies and interests, our relationships, our habits, etc.—we can become as irresistible to the people whose lives we touch as a plump, juicy, sweet summer fruit salad! The fruit of the Spirit that Jesus displayed was completely irresistible, except to the legalistic, religious fuddy-duddies (Pharisees and Sadducees) of the day. Even murderers, thieves, sexual perverts, and crazy people were drawn to Jesus’ irresistibility.
Galatians 5:22 (NLT) describes the fruit of the Spirit like this, But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The operative phrase here--controls our lives-- is the key to becoming spiritually fruity. If we do not allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives, other fruit of a carnal, sinful nature crops up, and as the saying goes, “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch.” So, the sweetest, most agape-loving, peace-filled, faithful, moral follower of Christ compromises his spiritual produce with every outburst of anger he yields to, for anger is the direct opposite of gentleness (or meekness, as other versions read).
Uh-oh. ‘Better check our fruit baskets for rotten produce. It looks like this, according to Galatians 5:19-21, When you follow the desires of the sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, and drunkenness. A decree for today: Lord, we decree that the Holy Spirit’s fruit in us is “Simply Irresistible”!