“I guess you could say that I’m like a tree, growing up from the ground. I pray that the Lord would water me so everyone around could look and see the fruit I bear and then enjoy the fruit I share. All my life I want to be like Galatians 5:22 and 23!” ~ The Fruit of the Spirit, Upward
Dancing bananas, apples, oranges, grapes and pineapple labeled with name tags use their jazz hands – a colourful mix-up of fruit that never go off and will always stay happy forever. It is hard to read Galatians 5 without imagining cartoon fruit skipping around the pages in their own little musical performance. When analyzed a little closer, their story is much more happily-ever-after than Noah’s Ark or Jonah and the Whale. We hang laminated fruit by pieces of yarn around children’s necks as they display the spiritual fruit named on it that day. “Well done for being so patient,” we might say. “If I want to win the prize, I need to try harder,” they might conclude.
A game of Upset the Fruit Basket begins as different fruit of the Spirit compete for space in our lives. Only one ever seems to end up “it” while the others remain seated. The only thing supernatural about this fruit is relegated to animations that came to life with songs that make a young child request them over, and over, and over … and over again. They become child’s play – nothing but an unrealistic expectation we enjoyed as entertainment when we were young.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ~ Galatians 5:22-23
Not our efforts or hard work. Not our self-discipline or yearly goals. Not our natural ability. By God’s Spirit living in us. A mystery that is a little too complicated for me. So, I remember the song we taught children (while I was dressed up as a singing, dancing tree) … “I guess you could say that I’m like a tree, growing up from the ground. I pray that the Lord would water me so everyone around could look and see the fruit I bear and then enjoy the fruit I share. All my life I want to be like Galatians 5:22-23.”
I am growing. I am praying. The Lord is watering. I am bearing. People are enjoying. Simple truths. So simple we can teach a child and so simple we think it is dumbing down something that is actually quite complicated. But that is how God works. We pray. He changes things. There is fruit. It’s his fruit – all of it, none are sitting down. And against these, things there is no law! Imagine …
Before Christmas many people generously sponsored sewing machines for the courses I am teaching. Each one is now named after a fruit of the Spirit, in Irish … I had to ask a friend to help with that! I am praying that as the Lord “waters me” each person will experience the fruit their machine is named after and know that there is a God. (There are only 8 machines so I used the first 8 included in the fruit of the Spirit)