“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
When we bought our property in the Appalachian foothills, we planned to have some fruit trees off to the side of where we foresaw the garden to be. The hill had been cleared at one time but was overgrown with scrubby pines and briers and devil’s walking sticks. We cut and cleared and planted a couple of apple trees and a couple of peach trees for our future “orchard”.
We were up most weekends and we checked on them, but they were sorely neglected. We were excited to see peach blossoms the next spring turn into a couple of rock-hard little peaches. Before they had a chance to ripen, either a deer or a bear (or some other native wildlife!) plucked and ate our first fruits. Since then we hadn’t seen any more fruit.
But once we moved up here full time, we added a few more trees. We also made the effort to spray and prune and tend the trees, and they began to produce fruit. We’ve lost the peaches a couple of years due to a late frost. But this year we actually got to “harvest” some apples. Our trees are finally bearing good fruit!
The first fruit of the spirit that Paul lists in Galatians is love. We know that “God is love”. (He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. I John 4:8) God’s love for us and His desire to be close to us is ultimately demonstrated in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. God loves us unconditionally, period. We in turn are to channel God’s love as we interact with others. Can the people around us see God’s love in our conversations, actions, and service?
Sometimes it’s hard to like someone who just rubs us the wrong way. I kind of see Paul as a person who was so passionate about what he believed that he was always talking about it and telling others about it and was trying to convince everyone! He probably annoyed lots of people, not just the Pharisees and religious leaders of his time. But even then, he showed God’s love for others, he wanted everyone to know Jesus as he did and how much his own life was changed.
The fruit of love is not always easy or automatic. Like the fruit trees in our garden that really didn’t produce on their own, our fruits take work, too. We have to read our Bibles and pray and spend time with God. We have to see and feel and experience the immense love that God has for us. Then we can use God’s love for us and turn it toward others. Are you happy to see people? Do you see others as the children of God? God does.
This week let’s just choose this one fruit of the spirit to focus on. Let’s evaluate our spiritual fruit of love; is God’s love in us visible to others, are we sharing God’s love with others, do we treat everyone who intersects with us with God’s love? Let’s choose some verses about God’s love to “pick”, to harvest, for ourselves. Here are just a few, I’m sure you have some favorites of your own. Please feel free to share yours!
I Corinthians 13:2, Jeremiah 31:3, I John 4:20, and John 3:16.
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me this week as we begin to examine the fruits of the spirit and share God’s love with others.
Don’t forget to check out the blog post written just for children under the “For the Kids” heading at the top. Blessings!