Known by Your Fruit

The Fruit of the Spirit’s not a coconut
The Fruit of the Spirit’s not a coconut
If you want to be a coconut
You might as well hear it:
You can’t be a fruit of the Spirit

Cause the fruit is
Love, joy, peace, patience
Kindness, goodness, faithfulness
Gentleness and self-control
Love, joy, peace, patience
Kindness, goodness, faithfulness
Gentleness and self-control

This is how my kids, and probably any other kid who has grown up attending church camp has learned how to memorize the fruits of the spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22. Not a coconut. Not a banana. Not a cherry. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Say them as fast as you can. With no room for breathing.

Don’t worry. I can’t do that either. I actually usually have to look them up. Or my kids remind me they are not a coconut…and proceed to sing me that song. But, you know…however they remember is alright by me.

Coconuts. Bananas. Cherries. Fruits. Yes. Sweet like kindness. Gentleness. Patience. Until they rot, and then we don’t think of them in quite the same way. And I can guarantee we have encountered some rotten fruit.

In our fruit drawers at home, we can usually detect the rotten culprits right away. They are the lemons or the oranges that are a tad bit green. They are slightly moldy, growing an unsightly fungus that we must remove before we taint any others. Before that fungus spreads. 

But what we don’t often see. What often do is pick up a perfectly good fruit, bite into and find it rotten on the inside. Pretty stinkin’ disgusting. The fruit looked good. What happened? Well as settings go, our fridge environment wasn’t quite right. And if we kept that pretty green apple around that moldy lemon for longer than we intended, well…the inside became rotten, while the outside still looked good.

It can be that that way with us at times. We can hang out with fruit that may not be spirit-filled. We may look really good on the outside. But on the inside-we aren’t filled with those things he intended. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The gunk that has been left to linger around us-the coconuts, the bananas, the moldy lemons and oranges…they start to rub off on us. Not on the outside, maybe. But they start to impact our hearts. And the goodness, it isn’t so ripe anymore. God takes a look on the inside, and he starts to see parts that are not a reflection of ripe fruit.

Jesus speaks of this in Matthew 7:15-20, and it can be a pretty harsh, yet very honest and truthful teaching when thinking about our witness and our character as believers:

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistle? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”

In other words here, Jesus is letting his disciples know, as believers who are filled with his Spirit we cannot profess to know him, to be filled with his love, and show hatred to our neighbor. We cannot profess to be filled with kindness, and then become irate when something is demanded of us. We cannot profess to be filled with joy, and grumble through our days. We cannot claim to be an apple tree, and produce coconuts.

You will be known by your fruit. May it be sweet, and not one to be turned away from, or thrown out because it has grown rotten, and is in danger of infecting the others. May it be the ripest fruit. Known for love, kindness, patience. Known by all as an example of Christ.

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