But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Everyone has a favourite fruit. Mine is Mango. Naturally, I am a girl of the Caribbean and the tropical fruits are always my favourite. While on a vacation in Jamaica I purchased a bag of the juiciest East Indian Mangos from a roadside vendor. They were all yellow, very ripe and big! I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into one of them. When I returned to the Airbnb I was staying, I sunk my teeth into the mango and felt the juice running down my fingers. The taste was heavenly. It wasn’t until the next day when I was eating my third that I saw holes in the Mango, and the worms also having a feast of their own. I was horrified, sick even! I got rid of the half eaten mango, and checked out the rest of the uneaten ones. I saw holes in all them. I was too frightened to try another, so I also got rid of the entire bag, and started worrying, how much worms did I devour? I had a bad fruit and it was disgusting.
Fruits of the Spirit
On a spiritual note, when fruits are good they do not have worms. The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These good fruits don’t come naturally no matter how much of a “good person” you think you are. No, these fruits are ONLY produced when they are connected to the vine. And not just any vine, the true vine. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful (John 15: 1-2).
As Christians, we are expected to bear good fruits, both in season and out of season. I never understood that bible verse until now. Mangos don’t grow year round, not even in Jamaica. When it’s mango season, the fruit is in abundance everywhere, and they are juicy and delicious. Not like the mangos you get year round at the Canadian grocery stores. On the contrary, the spiritual fruits bear all year, in every terrain and temperature of our lives. In other words, the fruits don’t bear just when lives’ challenges/difficulties are at their minimum.
The Fig Tree
Do you remember when Jesus was walking with his disciples and he tried to look for a fig to eat because he was hungry? The fig tree was in the right season and still it did not have one fruit on it. Jesus took a drastic approach to the fact that the tree was barren. He cursed it. And the next day the tree shrivelled (Mark 11:12–20). This is a spiritual analogy to all of us. There are times, we are so focussed on going to church, reading our bible, memorizing and quoting scriptures, but when the time comes for someone to eat from us, we have nothing to offer. That is, we can’t show love, we are not gentle, we are not kind. And so , the ones who came expecting something from us only receive the bitter fruit or worse, are eating “worms”.
The Apostle Paul is telling us what fruits we ought to be bearing, if these fruits are not visible we should check to see how well we are in fact connected to the true vine. The fruits of the spirit doesn’t come from our flesh it is internally connected to the Holy Spirit.
My Favourite Fruit is Love
Finally, Paul says the fruits of the spirit doesn’t have a law. While there is a law against the acts of the flesh, when it comes to the fruits of the spirit, there needs to be no law. In other words, we can show as much love to our neighbours and we need not worry that there is a consequence. We can exhibit a 1000 acts of kindness each day, and no one will ever come to enforce a limit. So, while we have to be fearful when we are busy committing acts of the flesh, we do not need to worry about containing ourselves (or limiting ourselves) when we are sharing the fruits of the spirit with others.
Therefore, seek to be connected to the true vine and it will be evident when others are noticing how much good fruits you are bearing. People will come to you to eat of your fruits because your fruits will bear all year, both in season and out of season, in endless supply. Remember John 15:4, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”