Navigation #6

You Are What You Eat

Most of us enjoy at least some kind of fruit and we all have our favorites. We also might avoid certain fruits due to allergies or simple preferences. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of fruits, all of them offering different tastes, textures, benefits and juices.

fruit-of-the-spirit-christopher-kirwan-tuskawilla-presbyterianThis understanding of tangible, edible fruit can be applied to the fruits of the Spirit. There are some of these fruits that people will more naturally be attracted to and exhibit better than others.

The fruits of the Spirit that Paul lists are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Naturally, not everyone can embody all of these fruits single-handedly and constantly. Some of us may be much better with one of the fruits of the Spirit over another. For example, some of us may be great at being generous. Perhaps it was engrained in us at a young age, and we do that exceptionally well. For others, maybe patience is more easily expressed and on display. Whatever the case may be, the fact is that we excel in some fruits (of the Spirit), while others we either let rot, or do not give them the TLC that they need and deserve.

I played quite a bit of soccer growing up. It wasn’t until my high school years that I was fortunate enough to have a coach whose knowledge, wisdom and experience helped me immensely. But learning what he had to teach me was a struggle at first. I had to consciously think about what he told me to do and adjust my actions accordingly.

Finally, after enough practice, after putting enough work into it, the skills became embedded in my being. No longer did I have to think and look; I could just react because it had become second nature to me to what I needed to do. The practice, the growing-pains, and the focus paid off.

The same could be said for the fruits of the Spirit. Oftentimes we need to have someone leading us, showing us the way.

Mentors, coaches, pastors or leaders are crucial in almost any sport, profession, or religion and I still have some that help me enormously with my own ministry. In addition to their instruction, we must be aware that living out these fruits will not come overnight. It will, much like soccer was for me, take practice.

With enough practice and focus, exhibiting all of the fruits of the Spirit can become second-nature. We will not have to think about being more patient, more loving or more generous. We will not have to fight self-control, struggle with faithfulness or even lack joy. Instead, we will embody and reflect all of these fruits and God-like qualities in our everyday living.

Could you imagine how wonderful and amazing this world would be; if everyone displayed and made a part of their whole being just the fruits of the Spirit? It sounds like it would be such a wonderful place to live and exist in doesn’t it?

It also makes me feel and believe that this is what heaven is probably like—a place that is tranquil and peaceful, and very close to God. Just think: by being generous we can be giving of not only our money, but also our time and talents too. By being patient we seek to become less frustrated or annoyed when others need more time or if we need help.

In our self-control we can avoid the common pitfalls of everyday life, and help others to do the same. Our love and joy can be given to those who hardly see those fruits, and even be given to those others may see as undeserving. By being peaceful we can have more opportunities to display grace and have civil conversations and communications with others. By being faithful we can continue to share these fruits without losing hope, without losing sight of God and without groveling in self-pity and remorse.

All of these fruits go hand-in-hand, and truly would make this world an amazing place if everyone made an effort to partake in them.

God knows that we cannot live up to this high standard without some missteps here and there. But God also knows that we can put forth more effort in attempting to give these fruits to others and to enjoy them ourselves.

Acquiring the taste of these fruits is not easy, but in the long run it pays off. The more we practice, the more we become exactly what we eat.

 

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