Spirit Filled Life: Fruit of the Spirit
BY PASTOR JUSTIN WERVEN | BEULAH CAMPUS PASTOR
I have fond memories growing up visiting my grandparents and great aunt’s house. Both places had something kinda humorous in common: fake fruit. On the table or end table was a bowl filled with fake fruit. As a kid, we would play with and pretend to eat out of that bowl. Maybe even more depressing was the fake magnetic Oreo that would be mixed in with the good Oreos. Us grandkids would attempt to find the fake and stick it to the fridge.
Fruit has an important role in scripture as a picture of production. One that baffled me for so long was that found in Mark 11:12-21. Jesus leaves Bethany and is hungry. He approaches a fig tree (out of season) and looks for figs among the leaves and branches. To his disappointment he finds no figs. He responds to this disappointment by cursing the tree and it dies.
For the longest time I couldn’t make much sense of Jesus’ response. Why would he be upset with a tree that isn’t producing when it’s out of season? We have an apple tree in the backyard. I wouldn’t be upset with the tree if it didn’t have apples in April, because it isn’t the season for apples. Jesus was upset and there must have been a reason.
The key to understanding this passage comes with a couple simple words, “In leaf.” It was early spring. The fig tree caught Jesus’ attention because it already had leaves. It was an early bloomer and was giving the impression of fruit yet was producing none. This was more than just an agricultural lesson; it is also a lesson for us today.
Matthew 7:20 Jesus says, “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Our choices determine what kind of fruit we produce.
Galatians 5 gives us a wonderful picture of the kinds of fruit we can yield. One is called the “acts of the flesh” and the other “the Fruit of the Spirit.” The acts of the flesh lead to separation from God and removal from God’s kingdom; the Fruit of the Spirit leads to a life of freedom and intimacy with God.
The Spirit-filled life will produce good spiritual fruit. When we live close to the Spirit and draw near to God by praying and reflecting on His Word, we will experience the fruit of the Spirit in our life.
May our prayer be today, “Holy Spirit, may my life never just look good on the outside with no fruit, but help me to live close to You, Jesus, producing healthy spiritual fruit.”
Pastor Justin Werven
Beulah Campus Pastor