good fruit

One of my favorite gifts from our wedding was this piece of pottery.  It was given to us by one of my Aunts from her local pottery shop in Ontario, Canada.  It’s one of the few serving platters I own, and yet as soon as my husband and I returned from our honeymoon and were settling into our tiny little studio apartment, this platter began to hold fruit.

My parents had always had a well-stocked “fruit bowl” in the kitchen for us five kids.  In that bizarre transition from childhood home to husband’s home, I needed that familiarity.  And it instantly made our tiny apartment feel like home.  I have kept it loaded with fruit ever since.  We’ve rented multiple places, we’ve trekked across the country and set up home in Colorado for a few years, and always, this sameness.

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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.” {Gal.5:22-23}

I was thinking about it while unloading groceries this morning.  We are like this platter.  Empty containers.  Earthen containers.  We can’t take any credit for the fruit we hold.  We didn’t grow it.  All we do is receive it.  All we do is wait open, surrendered.  And in God’s grace, His Spirit, rooted in the lives of those who believe in Jesus, begins this fruit-producing process.

He is our only good.  He makes our lives beautiful.  That He resides in us, a mystery, and our only hope of glory.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” {2 Cor. 4:7 esv}

“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” {Col. 1:27 esv}

Unlike this platter, we aren’t lifeless, baked-hard clay.  We are alive and breathing.  And the beauty of the fruit we display?  It is borne in us, through us, by God’s Spirit.  So that many would taste that fruit and see that the Lord is good.  No one would grab an apple from this bowl and exclaim, “Wow!  That piece of pottery produced a mighty good apple.”  We understand that the bowl only holds the fruit that was produced elsewhere, by a farmer who specializes in growing good fruit.  Likewise, the fruit we bear as Christians is evidence of a Farmer tending our souls, growing the good fruit of His character there, for others to taste and see His goodness and beauty.  And yet, what a glorious mystery, what a beauty that we get to cooperate with Him in this endeavor, that we get to be the container through which He chooses to let His glory be on display.  And not just on display,  but available to be enjoyed by a hungry world.

“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” {John 15:8 esv}

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So, let’s abide in Him today, and trust Him to produce good fruit in us, and to cause it to spill out of us, to the praise of His glorious grace.  If you’re anything like me, some days it feels like the ground is only producing thistles and thorns.  Harsh words, selfishness, anger, fear, distrust, irritation, weariness.  Those are the things that seem to be growing in this soil.  But His promise is that if we are His, then we are in Christ.  And if Christ is in us, His Spirit will produce fruit.  Let’s trust Him in this.  Let’s be patient in this endeavor, as the Farmer’s work of producing fruit is a slow and steady growing.  A patient and quiet work, done in the dark and in the mundane moments.

“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  {Phil. 1:6 esv

{If you’d like that steady reminder of God’s promise, you can find the above printable for free here}

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