• Jason Wade


22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24

So have you ever walked through the produce aisle in a grocery store and really paid attention to everything that it really going on there? I know that sounds like a crazy question, but I was just wondering if you were ever watching as people pick out their fruit? As I was shopping late last night for our vacation, I was amazed that at 11pm at night, people are still really picky about their fruit. I was just trying to get finished before they closed and people were flicking, pinching, thumping, squeezing, and some were shaking it by their ears. I know there is a purpose for all of that and I really wish that I knew exactly why all of that really mattered, yes I know it has to do with ripeness and sweetness, but in reality, most of us will watch that perfect fruit possibly rot away in a basket or on our counter.

The same is true about the relationships that we have in our lives. For many of us, we try to pick our friendships and other relationships in the same manner that we pick our fruit. We put them through a rigorous set of tests and I could only imagine what it would like if we went up to someone and flicked them on the head to see if they were ripe enough to be our friends. Please don't go out and try to do that may cause some issues with your

friends. But let's just sit back and think about that for a second. Relationships are so important in our connection to God and to community. We are searching for people that we can trust to tell our darkest secrets. We are looking for people that are ready to come at the drop of a hat if we are ever in need. We are looking for someone who trusts and confides in us and that we are able to have the adventures of a lifetime. Friendships are vital to our existence and are a part of molding us and our entire family values.

In Paul's letter to the Galatians, we are watching as Paul is also encouraging them to recognize the things in their lives that need to be weeded and pruned as they are going to live out their lives in freedom for Christ. So just as we are looking for the people who will be our friends and help to develop our lives, we have to realize that we too have to develop these characteristics in our lives so that we can work together to strengthen our spiritual journey. See, Paul is encouraging everyone to recognize that we have already been given the ultimate sacrifice, but it is dependent on us to which seeds we plant in our lives and the lives of others as to which type of fruit will truly grow. Yes, I know that may be a little hard to follow, so let me say it in a little different way. Just like our lives, we have to continue to recognize that there are outside factors that help to direct our lives. Relationships that will continue to either help us rotten or ripen as it comes to our spiritual journey. We continue to both pick from the tree the fruit we need for nourishment and in turn we are picked by others to help them grow as well.

These fruits of the spirit continue to give us an image of what God is calling for us to live out in our daily lives. When Jesus continuously states that others will be able to tell how we are doing based on the fruit that we are producing is a two-fold statement. Jesus is calling us to to live out these characteristics in our personal lives, but to also help equip, plant and develop these same characteristics in the lives of those we come into contact with on a regular basis. Just imagine the impact that it would have if you were able to cultivate these fruits in the lives of your coworkers. How would your work environment change? What if you

were able to cultivate these characteristics in your school environment, how would your desire and anxiety levels decrease if you knew there was joy and peace waiting for your instead of judgment and angst? How would your home life change if we cultivated and nurtured these ideals into our family? Would we be able to come home and truly call it a safe haven filled with prayer and peace. I know that none of it will be perfect and that there will continue to be struggles, but what is wrong with taking the time to develop the environments that surround our lives with a little bit of the God's love. Why do we spend more time picking and evaluating fruit in a store and not enough time weeding and cultivating the lives that surround our lives and need it the most. Which fruit are we picking...the one that will be gone in a day or week, or the ones that we hope to walk with and grow together for a lifetime?

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