“The Fruit of the Spirit’s not a coconut!”
If you sang that line from Uncle Charlie out loud or in your head, then chances are you probably already know where this is going. No, the Fruit of the Spirit is not a coconut, banana, smoothy, or chocolate-covered strawberry. Indeed, if you try to make it be something that it isn’t, “then you might as well hear it, you can’t be the Fruit of the Spirit.”
What comes to mind when you think of fruit? Chances are your mind skipped tomatoes and went straight for something sweet and delicious. Regardless of what fruit you prefer, the idea here is that it is something good, desirable, and worth sharing with others.
It is only fitting that “fruit” is used as a metaphor to represent the most desirable traits of the Spirit of Christ. Let’s take a look:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
These nine character traits are those which we should long for and desire to have more of in our lives. They are qualities that make us more like Jesus and help us to reflect his love to others.
But what does this mean for us practically? How do we go about growing in these areas? One way is to ask God to help us become more aware of when these characteristics are lacking in our own lives. We can also look for opportunities to do kind things for others, to be patient with those around us, and to practice self-control in the small moments of our day.
When we allow the Spirit of Christ to work in us, we will gradually begin to see these nine fruits begin to grow. They will become a part of who we are and what we offer to the world. What a wonderful blessing it is to be known as someone who bears the fruit of the Spirit!
If you are ever wondering if you are doing the right thing or not, there is a clear answer: if you are remembering and keeping true to the Fruit of the Spirit, then you are not wrong!
It is very clear in God’s word what is not included:
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
Some of these things that are deemed “acts of the flesh” are far from the fresh, ripe, and ready to eat fruits of the spirit. These are not the kinds of things that bring people together in unity. They are instead the kinds of things that lead to division and destruction.
When we become mindful of the Fruit of the Spirit and intentionally work to cultivate them in our lives, we will be vessels for God’s love and light in a dark world. We will be a refreshing change and an example of what is possible when Christ takes up residence within us.
What of these things need to be pruned from your vine in order to better serve the Lord? It isn’t so much that we must repent in order to serve—but the more we serve, the more repentance naturally occurs as God works in our live and restore the bounty of “fruit” that He meant for us to have.
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25