But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.               (Gal. 5:22-23)

 

Ever noticed that no fruit (or vegetable) grows in straight lines? There are no square or rectangle fruits. Producing things in straight lines is something humans tend to do, and it’s important when constructing things like houses, where edges have to fit precisely.

Producing spiritual fruit isn’t done in a linear fashion, though. We don’t start where we are and go directly toward the desired result. In my experience, it’s more like a long series of loops where I circle around and come back not far from where I started. But each succeeding loop moves me a little more along the path to the desired fruit. The important thing is to keep moving.

Sometimes the line is no so much circular as wavy; up and down, up and down. But there too, I need to keep the line moving forward.

Each of the nine fruits in this passage forms its own loop that requires continued motion to stay viable. Love must keep reaching, or it will become dormant. Joy needs to be stirred into motion, or it will lie stagnant. Peace requires seeking, or it may stay lost. Patience not practiced deteriorates into frustration.

Kindness not exercised is useless. Goodness not acted on is hollow. Faithfulness is renewed daily through discipline and remembrance. Gentleness paves the path to compassion; unused, it becomes hardened. Self-control must be constantly exerted, or I can move into Satan’s control.

Each of these loops links to the next until they form a spiritual chain, a solid connection with the Spirit of God. As my human power weakens, the chain that connects me to God gets stronger. It keeps me anchored. It keeps me growing as God intends, even though it’s not in a straight line.

Sometimes my fruit is lopsided or misshapen. But God is able to take what I produce out of love for Him and use it for His purposes. If it’s too green, He sets it aside to let it ripen. If it’s funny-looking, He offers it to someone who needs to laugh. It’s never perfect, but God finds beneficial ways to use it anyway.

Thank You Father!