"Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit." Proverbs 12:12 NLT
Don't be jealous, bear your own fruit.
We lived in Florida for a few years and had the pleasure of living near orange groves for part of that time. We enjoyed the fragrance that would come from the new blossoms each year and then enjoy the sight of the fruit a few months later. To the casual observer, and the occasional grocery store shopper, fruit just appeared. But it isn't that simple. What may be absent from our minds is the amount of preparation, processing, and care that is necessary for a tree to continually bear good fruit. It requires work and....time.
I have had the pleasure of knowing folks that have dedicated much of their lives to the fruit business. When it comes to fruit on trees, it is not quick work. When we observe fruit on a tree or in the store, we are seeing the end product. Similarly when others observe "fruit" in our lives, it is the end product. It is a visual representation of the work that has been occurred in our lives.
The Bible tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control“ Galatians 5:22-23 ESV The fruit comes from the Holy Spirit, but we can participate in displaying it for others to see. But for them to see it, as with fruit trees, it may take some time. As Eugene Peterson describes it, what is required is a "long obedience in the same direction." The long obedience that is necessary, to not just possess but to display fruit, requires two things; environment and activity. Our environment needs to be rooted and our activity needs to be intentional.
We need to be rooted - We need to control the environment of our lives. We need to take in nourishment by the reading of the Word, guarding our associations, and forming habits that will ensure our continued growth.
We need to have intentional actively - We need to be intentional in the lives of others. It takes work. We need to practice being kind, being generous, telling the truth in love, and doing what we can to add value to other people's lives.
A few questions for honest reflection.
Are you bearing fruit? Are you rooted? Are you intentional?
Can you see the fruit of your life in the lives of those around you?
This week, be fruitful, nurture your environment and be intentional in the lives of others.
In His Hands,