I love fruit. One of the great perks of living in the tropics is the huge assortment of fruits that are delicious, available, and affordable. I enjoy eating pineapples and papayas and mangoes and lychee and bananas and dragon fruit and pomelo and mandarins and guava and jackfruit and, well, you get the idea...
But, I am talking about a different kind of fruit.
"The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!" Galatians 5:22-23
More than I want to eat a tropical fruit salad, I want to produce a holy one. I want to exude love and and an inexpressible joy. I want to carry peace with me wherever I go. I want to wait patiently with a positive attitude. I want to be kind and consider others. I want to choose good over evil. I want to be faithful and true and sincere and be committed. I want to be gentle in my words and my actions. I want to possess a level of self-control that is much less about self than about the good of others.
"A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions." Matthew 7:17-20
The Bible has a lot to say about fruit--good and bad. Fruit has a lot more to do with actions than it does with beliefs, I think. I realize that in most cases our beliefs shape our actions, but sometimes we can believe, or at least think we believe, something yet our actions contradict that very belief. It is right to advocate for justice, yet we still purchase items we know are produced in sweatshops by exploited workers. It is right to patiently love our annoying neighbors, but we still come up with excuses to cut the conversation short. It is right to rejoice in every single day we have because God has created it and no day like it will ever happen again, yet we count the hours until lunch...and then 5pm...and then bedtime. It is right to strip down naked to offer our clothes to the enemy who just stole our coat, yet we worry about getting cold or being embarrassed. It is right to keep our word, yet sometimes that means we are inconvenienced or over-committed. It is right to study the Scriptures, yet what good is this knowledge if it never produces any action?
I desperately want people to see good, godly fruit in my life, but I do nor particularly care if it has anything to do with me. I simply want people to know that there is a God in heaven who loves and cares for them, who rejoices with them, who is patient with them, who gives peace that passes all understanding, who is kind and good, who is faithful beyond what any of us could deserve, and who carries us gently when we are broken. And, I think it is a lot easier for people to know and to believe in and to trust that God in heaven if they are able to see even the slightest glimpse of that on this earth. I pray that I would be a glimpse of that, of that holy fruit salad--sweet and refreshing.