I’ve grown some “joy” fruit!

Posted: 11/04/2011 in God
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Have you tried growing the fruit of the Spirit, you know…love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control ? They are hard things to grow, especially when you try to force them out. And yet that’s what I often find myself doing. “Teach me patience Lord” I say through gritted teeth as I inwardly think not very nice things about the driver that just cut me off. “Give me more self-control” I mutter around the crumbs of that extra krispy kream donut I had to have. “I must be kind, I must strive to be kind, I have to be kind” I think “except to that really nasty person who doesn’t deserve it”. And the more I try the more I seem to fail and fail miserably. It turns into this cycle of strive-fail-condem. I have never seen an apple tree straining to grow fruit or a peach tree looking distressed as he tries to pop out that one peach and yet that’s how I’ve tried to grow the fruit of the Spirit. Strain and strain and strain. God’s expectations however, are not that I strive for the fruit, but that I tend to the orchard He is growing them in. How does a gardener tend to an orchard? He waters, fertilises, protects from insects and birds and prunes. If I am the orchard, how then do I care for myself spiritually in order that I might grow spiritual fruit?

Water: Jesus refers to himself as the giver of living water in both John 4:14 and 7:37, living water being the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is for all believers and we are told by Paul to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-19 ). The greek for filled implies a continuous event and not a one-off. This certainly was an occurance for the believers in the early Church who were filled (Acts 2:4) and then filled again (Acts 4:31). We need to be watered in the Spirit continuously.

Fertiliser: Jesus calls himself the bread of life (John 6:35) and in coming to Him we will not hunger. How does one do this? As you would with any friend – sit down and chat. It sounds easy doesn’t it but how often do we actually do it? And when we do, is it all a one way monologue or do we dialogue and listen for our master’s voice. The other way we feed our souls, grow and mature is through the word of God (Heb. 5:12-14, Isaiah 55:9-11).

Protection: What are the spiritual predators in our life? The most significant threat to a Christian is the kingdom of darkness (1 Peter 5:8, Ephesians 6:11-12) but it’s not the only one. There are people and situations that threaten our growth – our fruit, on a daily basis. What hope do we have against these things? Jesus and Peter warn us to avoid false teaching (Matthew 7: 15, 2 Peter 2:1), the letter to the Hebrews tells us to deal with sin in our life (Hebrews 12:1) and Paul constantly reminds us to avoid certain situations (Romans 12:2, Colossians 3:5). We are even warned to be aware of the thoughts that come into our mind (2 Cor 10:5). As well we have the weapons and armour of God (Ephesians 6:13-18), scripture (Hebrews 4:12) and prayer (Philippians 4:6-8).

Pruning: Pruning is not only good for removing the unproductive branches but to promote growth. This is often the hard bit as it can hurt a lot. We pray things like “God make us more like Jesus, grow us, teach us, do what you want in us” and so on. As soon as he starts doing that we back off or run away. Perhaps it’s because we don’t see it for what it is, our Father pruning us to promote growth.

I can’t force the fruit of the Spirit, all I can do is tend to the orchard and allow God to grow me more like Jesus everyday. As I’ve begun to practice these principles in my life (and I am by no means perfect – trust me!) I’m starting to see fruit. It’s little fruit, some of it’s a bit shrivelled looking but it’s fruit and this week I’ve discovered I have “joy” fruit. Actual, real, supernatural “joy” fruit!

If you were going to trust your orchard into someone’s hand, wouldn’t you want it to be to the greatest gardener of all – after all he did create an entire universe!

* Pruning, or in this case, chiseling! The Skit Guys – God\’s chisel

  1. haloyoda says:

    Fantastic stuff oh wise one

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