The sound of crushing acorns beneath my feet caught my attention. There were thousands lying scattered on the ground beneath the trees that surrounded me, so I couldn't avoid stepping on them as I walked. I considered the multitude of trees that would eventually rise up if the acorns had the opportunity to take root and grow. The following verse came to my mind as I contemplated these thoughts.
Jesus said in reference to His impending death, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24, ESV). Because of Jesus' death, I have been given life. I am thankful for this life in Him; consequently, I want to help others experience the same. But for this to happen I, too, must die. I must turn away from serving myself above others.
Paul said, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..." (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV). Each one of these spiritual fruits showcases attractive qualities just like oranges, apples, pears, and plums beautify the trees on which they grow. But consider the purpose of fruit. Natural fruit is not produced for a tree's aesthetics, but it is produced to give life. The same is true concerning the fruit of the Spirit. Though producing these fruits may make me pleasant to be around, their purpose is not for my personal enhancement. Rather, the fruit of the Spirit is developed in me for the sake of offering life outside of myself.
Notice how each fruit is directly related to relationship with others. The evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in my life is measuared by how I treat others. Think about the following questions.
Do I love both my neighbor and my enemy?
Do I express joy in the midst of negative circumstances?
Am I a peace maker (one who is willing to address issues to resolve conflict) or a peace seeker (one who ignores issues to avoid confrontation)?
Am I patient with those who make mistakes?
Am I kind to those who hate me?
Am I good to those who mistreat me?
Am I faithful—can others count on me?
Am I gentle with those who are weak and hurting?
Do I control my emotions when others make me angry?
Obtaining and maintaining spiritual fruit involves great personal sacrifice.
The sound of the crushing acorns beneath my feet caused me to consider the cost of the life I am living. Jesus gave His life so I could live. I say I want to offer life to others, but I wonder how much of my life I'm actually willing to lose to be able to offer it. My ability to give life is directly related to how much I'm willing to abase myself for the sake of someone else.
I found this topic to be one of the most difficult ones I've addressed. My struggle with writing this blog is due to the following question. Am I willing to die so another can live?