How’s Your Fruit Growing?
by Pastor John Roselle | May 5th
Preface: For all those joining in outside of TSM, this blog is adapted from our current Wednesday night series called Life's Difficult Questions, where I encourage our students to anonymously submit questions they are struggling with. With this switch to online, I am having our students read this and then join in on an Instagram live stream to discuss. Students, I will see you all on Instagram Wednesday night at 8 pm. Everyone else, I hope this blog is an encouragement to you...
The question I have for you all today is a question I wanted to ask while I was recording your Sunday School lesson from this past week. If you watched the video on Sunday (please tell me you watched the video…please tell me you are reading this to tell me you watched the video lol), you already know that one of the main points we learned was that we will know that we walk in the light by the fruit we produce. No, I’m not talking about apples and oranges. The fruit I’m talking about is the Fruit of the Spirit. When I was recording this point in the video, the difficult question that popped into my mind was “How’s your fruit growing?” I feel like this is a difficult question to answer because of the current situation stopping me from meeting with you in person and really grasping how you are growing in your faith. It’s also a difficult question because the growing conditions have changed. You are removed from in-person church attendance and from physically being with those people who held you the most accountable. So, while we are apart, answer me this, how’s your Fruit growing?
What is the Fruit of the Spirit and is yours growing?
Read Galatians 5:16-26.
I’ve heard the fruit of the Spirit explained in one of two ways: either the fruit of the Spirit are 9 separate fruits grown in the life of a believer or it is one fruit with 9 separate parts. I get it, this debate might not be as controversial as the Twilight debate of Edward versus Jacob, but still, how you interpret these verses that you just read, says a lot about how your fruit grows as well as how you assess that growth. If you look at the fruit of the Spirit as 9 separate fruits, it would make it possible for one fruit to grow while another stays the same. It would make it possible to grow in love, but not joy; gentleness, but not self-control. What’s wrong with that? Well, it’s difficult to say you are truly growing in any of these if you are not growing in them all. To me, they all seem pretty connected. You can’t love without kindness, you can’t be kind without gentleness, and you definitely can’t have self-control without being gentle.
Instead, I view the fruit of the Spirit like an orange with 9 sections. Scientifically, they’re actually called carpals. Think about how weird an orange would look if only one or two of its carpals grew, while the others stayed the same size. Pretty weird, right? Oranges don’t grow like that. So, the fruit of the Spirit is one fruit with several parts that cannot grow independently of one another. It is a fruit we can produce as believers made up of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These “carpals” of the believer’s fruit do not grow individually. As you grow in one, the others will grow as well.
How the fruit of the Spirit grows is pretty straight forward from these verses; you walk in the Spirit. If you walk in the flesh, you will produce the works of the flesh. These two “fruits” do grow independently of one another. In fact, as verse 17 points out, if one is growing, the other cannot grow. So, when I ask the question of “How’s your Fruit Growing?”, what I want to know is have you been growing your works of the flesh during this time apart or have you been walking in the Spirit and growing your fruit of the Spirit? Is your fruit growing slow or fast? Honestly and whole-heartedly, examine your actions over the past two months. Has this time of social distancing driven you further away from your walk in the Spirit or have you taken this forced isolation as an opportunity to grow your fruit? Look guys and gals, from that list of works of the flesh, I know that you know what things you’ve struggled with. I also know that you know the condition of your fruit of the Spirit. If you’ve been struggling with this, reread verse 24 because it has a crucial point for you. Christ killed the power of the flesh on the Cross when He died to take away your sins and you believed in Him. Everything you need to grow a beautiful, healthy fruit is in you right now with the Holy Spirit and the Bible you hold in your hand.