Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Matthew 7:16-20 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.”
The kids on Wednesday night are having a lot of fun. We are learning about the Fruit of the Spirit through fun activities and silly songs. They REALLY like the song in particular! It tells us what the Fruit of the Spirit is, and what it is not. For example, it’s not a coconut, or lemon, or cherry, or watermelon, but rather, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The Scriptures go out of their way to tell us that there is never anything we can do from this list that is forbidden. Instead, EVERYTHING on this list is absolutely lawful, and encouraged! We will be continuing to explore these fruits in the coming weeks, and looking for ways to use them in our daily lives and relationships, so that we can bear good fruit for God!
The thing is – how often do we model these things in OUR lives for the kids to observe? In many developmental stages, it is quite literally a case of “monkey see, monkey do.” And Jesus tells us clearly in the Gospels that we will be able to tell what kind of a person others are – and that we ourselves are – by the kinds of fruit we bear in our lives. We can’t get grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles, right? So what kind of growing are we doing? Are we a thorn bush or thistle, prickly to others and not productive of anything other than difficulty and strife? Or are we bearing fruit that is pleasing to God? Remember – humanity was originally placed in a garden, and given a job of cultivation and growing. And despite sin coming into the world through human disobedience, that job didn’t change. We’re still gardeners – but we are also now the garden! And good crops don’t just “happen.” They need care, nurturing, cultivation, trimming and pruning, and even sometimes protection. Good fruit takes work.
The church is currently beginning its annual Spiritual Growth Campaign, where we focus on the person and work of Jesus in terms of his divine and authoritative identities. This kind of thing, this process of study, prayer, and community, is one of the best things we can do to cultivate good fruit – the Fruit of the Spirit. So as we journey together through this study and experience of Jesus, I want to encourage us to think not only about this study – but continuing to one after it, and another, and another. Let’s create ongoing Soul Gardening clubs, where we can continue to support and encourage one another as we cultivate ongoing lives of faith and discipleship! Let’s give our Lord our best fruits – our firstfruits – and show forth an amazing yield of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control by daily, weekly, yearly, cultivating God’s love in the garden of our hearts.
Be blessed today and always,