Time and Patience.
“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others,] joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness. (Galatians 5:22-23, Amplified Bible)
It takes five years for a lemon tree planted from seed to produce actual lemons. Before that there are leaves and sometimes flowering, but no lemons yet. It takes a lot of patience, careful tending, and nurture to get to actual lemons. There may not be lemons for a long time, but it does not take away from the fact that it’s still a lemon tree.
Sometimes we are like the lemon tree when it comes to living and displaying the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is within us and has brought his fruit which is his very own character, but we may not be reflecting it just yet, depending on where we are on our journey of life experience and in relationship with him. We may not be displaying that beautiful fruit of joy or kindness or patience when others or even we feel we should be. We want to, but it does not seem to show just yet. Maybe we are slow in forgiving and not being those beautiful vessels of kindness that the Holy Spirit is. Maybe we have not reached that place where patience shines forth all the time or when strong, unwavering faith is consistent. Even so, it is not a question of “if” we will ever reflect the Holy Spirit’s character and qualities, but more a matter of “when.” The longer we are in relationship with the Holy spirit, learn of and from him, submit to him, the more he is shaping us and filling us.
Even on days when we are frustrated or upset with ourselves for not showing that fruit at the moment we should or want to, we can remember Paul’s words when he reminded us we are all works in progress (Eph. 4:22). Be encouraged: If the Holy Spirit is living within you and walking with you then his fruit is yours, it may be hidden for now but it will begin to appear and ripen. You may be like the lemon tree before the lemons appear, but because the seed has been planted, they will show up. Let’s Pray,
Dear God, sometimes we’re slow to respond to the Holy Spirit, slow to display the fruit he has planted within us—but we know it’s there. Help us to cultivate this wonderful fruit he brings and rejoice in what fruit we are showing already. Amen
Questions for Soul-Tending:
Take an assessment: what fruit of the holy Spirit are you displaying most at this time of your life? Praise God for the little things you are showing!
Is there a particular fruit you need to cultivate more?
How will you apply today’s focus to your plan of soul-care?