Fruit of a Life Well Spent
Reading: Galatians 5:16-26
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 (NIV)
Fruit doesn't appear instantly like gifts do. It grows. Most fruit starts out as a bud which soon opens into a pretty flower. The flower is only temporary though, and once pollinated, its petals fall and its base begins to swell and grow until eventually it becomes a fully grown fruit. Even then the fruit has to ripen before it is perfect and ready to consume.
The work of the Holy Spirit in my life is the same. The fruit is really his fruit, but I get to bear it and thereby share in the blessing of that fruit. This requires my full cooperation, and a willingness to submit to the Spirit and join with him in his work. Much fruit may be born along the way as I walk with him, but the choicest fruit will be that which has had a lifetime to mature and ripen, perfected perhaps by suffering, and ultimately bringing glory to God through Jesus whose perfect sacrifice made it all possible.
My father died this week at the age of 85. As a boy he committed his life to Jesus, and he loved and served God unswervingly all his life. Every year when I was growing up, he used to buy boxes and boxes of fresh fruit in season – apricots, plums, peaches, pears, nectarines and more. When the fruit was ripe to perfection, he would preserve it in big jars and fill our cupboards with fruit for the year ahead.
On reflection, it seems to me that his life too was characterised by fruit, of two types. The first was fruit born by him as he faithfully used his gifts and his time to serve and bless others in all sorts of ways. The second was fruit born in him, those 'character' fruit described in Galatians 5:22 which over the course of his life developed and matured, and were finally ripened to near perfection.
Perhaps the two types of fruit are one and the same, with the former being simply the natural expression of the latter. Both are evidence of a life well spent – a life committed to Jesus and yielded to the Spirit – and the fruit of his life will be enjoyed forever.
Thank you Lord Jesus for the kindness and love that you have shown to my family. I thank you for the life of my father, and for the legacy that he has passed down to his children. May good fruit continue to fill our cupboards and overflow in expressions of thankfulness and praise to you.