“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.” (Galatians 5:22–23)
That is one of the great Bible passages some of us learned at Sunday School – often set to music. Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians is a list of character traits every Christian should strive to have.
In this sermon series, we’ve been studying Psalm 1. The righteous person: “…is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:1, 3)
When the psalmist tells us that we’re like a tree producing fruit, this is the type of fruit he’s talking about.
But I’d suggest to you that if you’re imagining growing fruit as some sort of abstract image, you’re missing the reality of it. The analogy of “producing fruit” is much more accurate than we might first think.
The reality is that the winds of unkind words beat against us and force us to drive spiritual roots deeper and deeper in the Lord so we’re not toppled. Then, in the spring, we produce the fruit of kindness.
The reality is that droughts and dry spells will come our way in life. But because we’re planted near the Living Water, we somehow bud and blossom fragrant joy.
Patience comes after dealing with intolerable people. We produce goodness when we rebel against all the badness we see in this world. We extend love to mean people despite their meanness.
As we’ll see this Sunday, Jesus would remind us that fruitfulness comes with staying put and putting in some effort. But the reward is worth it. He reminds us: “For each tree is known by its own fruit…” (Luke 6:44)
Let’s discuss these and more benefits of place Sunday as we continue our sermon series The Power of Place.