Friday, June 5, 2009

It's All In The Fruit

If asked to choose your favorite fruit, which would it be? I would choose the wild blueberry. Not the large type that grow on tall bushes in your back yard or in groves but the kind that grow between the rocks in Maine. They're smaller in size than their bushy relatives and don't need any added sugar to make them sweet. I like them freshly picked, frozen out of the bag, canned, jellied, preserved, baked in muffins, in pancakes, or my most favorite is a fresh-baked blueberry pie! I'd rather a blueberry "birthday pie" than any form of birthday cake ever! Unfortunately, my birthday falls in November when blueberries have passed by. I suppose I should think ahead from August to the fall and squirrel away a few cups as a gift to myself. But alas, I've yet to get them past my mouth and into the freezer!

When needing a blueberry "fix" I don't hop in the car and zip up north to Maine to pick a pint...that wouldn't be cost affective. Nor do I need to plant a bush, cultivate any soil, fertilize or weed, burn off the old dead brush, or rake the berries by hand. I just need to drive to the local produce market and shell out some cash. (However, I don't usually have a the choice of the small, wild, Maine-grown berries around here. I must settle for the larger, bush-grown Jersey or Florida brands. Non-the-less they are blueberries and my taste buds are satisfied). To market a wholesome, tasty berry or any natural food the natural pests and diseases must be controlled, fought-off and destroyed.

Now, isn't that the truth about the fruit of our lives? Paul mentions the natural fruits of our hearts in Galatians 5:19-21 which are: hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, to name a few. These are the weeds, the pests, the parasites, if you will, that cause disease in our souls. Already I'm not likin' myself as I identify with some of my own behaviors. What God desires is totally opposite of what is in our hearts! Yaowzah! (My coin word for Yikes).

Luckily, Paul does not leave us hopeless but spells out the healthy fruits that can be produced in Galatians 5:22-23 “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.” If our lives produce a harvest of these fruits we know the soil of our hearts and souls have been properly cultivated. But, it’s hard work. It takes discipline because these fruits are not part of our nature. These fruits are transplanted into our hearts as we allow the Holy Spirit to transform us from the inside out.

It's NOT about what WE can do on our own. No matter how many times a week we pluck the weeds from the garden of our hearts, they reappear. It's all about the transformation of the seeds...becoming a new creation. Where do we start? Paul says in Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." It doesn't matter what we look like on the outside or what we do to prove ourselves holy. It's about giving up what comes naturally; laying it down, constantly to God's control so that he can produce the proper fruit.

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