Links Daily Devotional

Ripening Fruit

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB)

Does it fall off easily, or do you have to pull?

Sometimes when people I’m playing golf with compliment my swing, I’ll thank them and then say that it is “a product of my misspent youth.” While I didn’t start playing seriously until I was a freshman in high school, there are pictures of me with some kind of golf club in my hands at almost every age from the time I was three or four. The seeds of rhythm and balance while swinging a club at a ball were planted early in me, they took root and got some attention, and decades later they are still bearing fruit.

When we moved into our house in Arizona almost two-and-a-half years ago, we planted two citrus trees. One is pink grapefruit and the other is some kind of hybrid orange. This year, for the first time, they both have fruit on them. Some of the grapefruit looks wonderful, and although we did force one to come off so we could try it, they aren’t coming off naturally just yet. Which means they aren’t really mature—or ripe, as those in the know would say.

Much the same thing happens with us and the fruit of the Spirit.

You may have read Galatians 5:22-23 and said to yourself, “Well, I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I have the Holy Spirit, and therefore I should have the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” And perhaps you do, but perhaps you have that fruit in the very same way that I have grapefruit: the fruit is there, but it is not as tasty now as it will be, it does not yet come off naturally or easily, and there just isn’t as much of it as I hoped there would be.

You see, just like a golf swing or a grapefruit tree, the fruit of the Spirit requires time and fertilizer and sunshine and water if it is to grow healthy and sweet. It does not come to any Christian either immediately or fully formed or in abundance at the beginning. You must cultivate it and feed it and care for it, and one day—a day you will notice—you will suddenly realize that you have something wonderful to offer the world around you.

Or did you think this fruit was simply for your own enjoyment?

Lewis Greer
February 12, 2014
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