I was teaching my students the names of some exotic fruits in French the other day. They didn’t know that a pineapple was a (tropical) plant with edible fruit on it. They were also intrigued by the fact that it is hard to tell when a coconut is ripe. It made me think about the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). Just like fruit in the natural, the spiritual fruit grows and ripens. Getting the fruit to grow requires water and nutrients. How do we know if our spiritual fruit is ripe? To find out if a coconut is ripe, you have to shake it and listen to see if you hear liquid sloshing around. Does your spiritual fruit hold any water in it or is it old and dried out?
God transfers the nine spiritual fruit into us through the Holy Spirit. Our spirit working with the Spirit of Jesus, produces the fruit. The Holy Spirit gives our personality a lift thanks to the fruit. There is a sanctification process that takes place. It starts with love. Love is the door that lets us enter the wonderful world of the fruit of the Spirit. There is a transformation happening during that process. Now, we have to work hand in hand with the Spirit in order to see the fruit ripen. The nine fruits come from the Holy Spirit to us and the way this passing of the guards takes place is seen in how we become more like the Lord. It shows in the changes in our character and in our personality. If someone doesn’t experience any positive changes in him or her, it often means that the fruit is not being watered but it is there. It is sitting pretty, waiting for that person to actively engage with the Holy Spirit.
Watering the fruit happens when we engage with the Holy Spirit. This takes place when we pray, when we praise and worship and when we are open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Giving in to the Spirit is a great way to see the fruit ripen. How do you do that? Let’s say patience is a fruit you want to see grow. Practicing patience is giving in to the Spirit because the Spirit has patience. He is the author of patience and of all the other fruits. If you want to see spiritual growth, keep practicing the fruit. Show love. Express joy. Display patience. Endure with long suffering. Be an advocate for peace. Be kind and good to everyone. Keep the faith. Be gentle and make self-control your best friend. If you keep doing all these things, before long people will see that your fruit is ripe. They won’t have to shake it to see if it contains any water. The water of life will spring forth from your fruit as evidence of its maturity.Stay in the Spirit!
Suggested reading: Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; James 3:17-18