We are all familiar with what Paul calls “The Fruit of the Spirit.” The text is found in Galatians:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23 ESV)
I can still remember learning these fruits when I was in Children’s Church. There was this flannel board that the teacher could stick things to. She would pull out a picture of an apple and say “Love.” I don’t remember what they used for joy, but usually a peach came out for peace. I guess the thought was that we would remember peace because it kind of sounds like peach. I don’t remember the other fruits, except for “Long-suffering”, the King James word for “Patience.” They always used a banana for this one, and would say, “Looonng-suffering!”
Using actual fruits as an object lesson for kids is a pretty good idea, except an apple did not make me more loving and a peach did not make me live at peace with anyone.
Fruits of the Spirit are not choices you can make. You cannot choose to love. These fruits are feelings, emotions that automatically display in someone’s life when they are living for the Lord. Paul goes on to tell us:
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal 6:7-8 ESV)
We can’t expect to live a life that produces spiritual fruit unless we are living lives with a central focus on Christ. Jesus tells us, “You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. You don’t pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles. A healthy tree produces good fruit, and an unhealthy tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced.” (Matt 7:16-20 NLT)
All of this really has made me wonder if fruit mentioned at other places in the Bible could also be reminders of the Holy Spirit living in us.
Exodus 28:31-35 describes the robe that the priest was to wear. The priest had pomegranates sewn onto the hem of the robe. These fruits had different colors to reflect what the fruit of the Spirit should be in your life. As stated earlier “a person will be recognized by their fruit,” so to be recognized as a Christian, our fruit should point to Jesus:
- The first pomegranate was blue – It represents Christ’s Heavenly Nature. Your fruit should be the lifestyle of someone who wants to go/is going to heaven. Someone who lives with their life centered on Christ. He gives us an example to live by, and asks us to live for Him.
- The second pomegranate was purple – It represents the royalty of Christ. Your fruit should be the lifestyle that obeys and respects Jesus as your king. We don’t have Christ visible to us on a physical throne, giving us orders to obey. But, He sits on the throne of our hearts, and He gave us His Word in the Bible. Christ does not want to simply reside in our hearts; He wants to preside over it.
- The third pomegranate was scarlet – It represents Christ’s death for our sins. Your fruit should be the lifestyle of someone who has been washed in the blood of Jesus; someone who follows Jesus.
This is the way in which we are called to live as Christians. Everything we do, everything we say, should be automatic, showcasing Christ in us.
When you give your life to Christ, you do not immediately show new fruit. Growing fruit is a process. You can’t expect to plant seeds, and the next day have a full-grown tree bearing ripe fruit.
The fruits of the Spirit that Paul listed are attributes of Christ. As we grow as a Christian, we learn to reflect Christ to the world around us, and we will abound with Spiritual Fruit.
Let me know your thoughts.