My kids love fruit! I mean who doesn’t? Juicy, sweet, beautiful fruit! It’s even better when it’s in season. I have never eaten a strawberry better than the spring harvest from a North Carolina strawberry field. Oh goodness… such deliciousness! Yes, strawberries are available year round thanks to the advancement of greenhouse farming, but there is a huge difference in greenhouse grown vs. seasonal field farming. The final harvest is very different to my taste buds. Some of my dear farming buddies might disagree with me on this one but, natural seasonal field farming yields a product that is pure. Unlike it’s greenhouse counterpart, the field harvest is reaped as it was created to do so. A greenhouse harvest is manipulated with inorganic elements (sun, temperature, rain) to create a crop anywhere and anytime.
Y’all, my Granddaddy spent his whole life farming. I did not. I have limited knowledge of farming. If that first paragraph impressed you, that was Jesus. If not, that was me. HA! I write all that above to note there is a great correlation between natural farming and the Gospel. In fact, Jesus uses analogies of agriculture throughout his teachings. One specific agricultural reference I want to focus on is found in Galatians 5 from our buddy Paul. This is probably one of the top 5 New testament things that Christians quote and toss around. I just want to challenge myself and others to really understand what Paul is telling us.
Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[e] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
It seems likes it’s pretty straightforward to me, but maybe not? There are desires of the flesh and fruits of the Spirit. We have a choice to make. We either “gratify” our flesh or “walk” by the Spirit. Whatever you choose will be evident in what appears in your life. Verses 19-21 define many of the fleshy desires as opposed to verse 22-23 that explore the Fruits of the Spirit.
For the sake of time, let’s focus on the fruits. The word in Greek for fruit is karpos. One of the definitions is “that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result”. Friends, I see this misused constantly. The FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT and the GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT are not the same thing! You are not gifted any of these items: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are FRUITS. These are a result of WALKING by the Spirit. Let’s talk more Greek. I LOVE GREEK! The word walk is peripateō, meaning: to make one’s way, progress; to make due use of opportunities. Hebrew for, to live. To regulate one’s life. To conduct one’s self. To pass one’s life. Oh goodness! What a sermon we got here!
To walk by the Spirit is acknowledging that you can’t do this life alone. You need the Holy Spirit. Why? The Holy Spirit provides us with counseling (John 14:16), guidance (John 16:13), gives us spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12), our helper (John 14:25-26), teaches us who Jesus is (John 16:12-14), and gives us power (Acts 1:5-8). I don’t know about you, but I need all that! When I acknowledge my heart and souls desire and need for a Master, Savior, Lord that can only be found in Jesus Christ, He will provide me with the Holy Spirit. The great Counselor and Helper becomes my compass. But just like any tool, it is only useful when used. I have to tap into who the Holy Spirit is and what He provides for me. CONSTANTLY! As I continue to “walk” in my faith I begin to “live, regulate my life, conduct myself” according to the Spirit. In doing so, fruit will appear and grow.
It is simply impossible to do this inorganically. This can not be fabricated. These fruits can not be created on my own accord and with my own doing. These fruits are evident because I made a decision to WALK WITH GOD. The passage here doesn’t say “jump two times” and you will have fruit. It tells us to walk, keep in step, live by the Spirit. This is continuous. It doesn’t stop.
Moms, Dads, single friends, seasoned friends, EVERYONE reading, this impacts every part of our lives. If I am struggling in any or all of these fruits, that falls on me. It’s my responsibility that they aren’t present or they aren’t growing. Fruit is amazing while is hanging on the tree or vine and it radiates beauty. However, it is much more amazing when it is devoured. Your fruit is not intended to be a spectacle, but to be an enjoyment in your life and the people around you. When I have no patience whatsoever for my children, my fruit is absent and not enjoyable for them. When I lack kindness and gentleness towards my husband, my fruit is absent and not enjoyable for him. When I lack love to the lady at McDonald’s because the ice cream machine is broken again, my fruit is absent and not enjoyable for her. My fruit is purposed to impact everyone; myself included.
So what’s in your fruit basket? What do you need the Holy Spirit to help you, guide you, provide counseling, empower you with and for? Ask. Seek. Knock. (Matt 7:7-12). He’s just waiting for you.