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by on June 26, 2013

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 – Galatians 5:22-23

fig treeThis past spring I was forced to undertake a very painful act, I cut down my beloved Fig tree. This tree was the source of many sermon illustrations, comments, jesting and interest. However, what it was not a source of was figs! At least figs that would be considered edible that is. You see, each year I would get ‘a ton’ of figs on the tree, nice hard green fruit, but just about the time they would begin to ripen the weather turned to typical NW cold and rain. Other than a very few, the figs would never ripen and end up in the Yard Waste container heading to the city compost pile. Incidentally, I did not curse the fig tree, just cut it down and disposed of it.

In our passage for the week from Galatians Paul clearly reminds us that we are to bear fruit, and this fruit is to be different from the fruit of ‘the flesh’. The fruit we bear is ‘the fruit of the Spirit’, meaning the Holy Spirit that dwells within each believer. Fruit takes time, needs the right conditions, but most of all the source of life. The ground from which the vine or tree grows provides the nutrients, the sun and water do their part, but ultimately as with all life God gives the increase. So it is with the believer, the fruit is not a result of us trying hard to produce it, but it is a result of ‘abiding’ in Christ as we spend time with Him in prayer, in His word, with His family and daily walk in the Spirit.

It is said to believers who are just beginning to bear fruit and then waste their lives in living for ‘self’ and the flesh as Paul warns. We must be patient with each other and allow the fruit to be evident, but even the newest of believers can begin to demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit in all its manifestations if they abide in Him. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all unique characteristics but together they are ‘one fruit’. Just as an apple tree bears many apples, all the fruit of the Spirit has the continuity of being reflective of our Lord and His life within us through the Holy Spirit. Each of us in our uniqueness and special way are to bear fruit that only God can give but we can bear.

Just in case you think you never have to hear about my fig tree again I must report that the day I cut it down, I replaced it with a new one. This time I made sure to plant the type is known to bear fruit in our climate and I know it will because I have ‘tasted the fruit’ of this type of fig from some of my friends trees. As an added bonus I could not resist the temptation to plant an Olive Tree that also is guaranteed to grow in our climate so we will even have more to talk about in a few seasons from now.

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