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A New Look at the Fruit of the Spirit

Updated on June 8, 2015

Fruit of the Spirit View

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Bowl of Fruit

Bowl of fruit
Bowl of fruit | Source

The Usual Fruit

I remember participating in many VBS themes on the Fruit of the Spirit over my life. Many times we'd have a picture or a literal bowl of grapes, apples, oranges, plums, pears and bananas. Sometimes in order to convey the different qualities of the fruit, we would even dress people up in various fruit costumes like the old "Fruit of the Loom" commercials in the 80's and 90's. What a bunch of fun that was! What I never realized was the slight difference we were conveying to those kids and adults who were there.

When we think about the Fruit of the Spirit, the usual bowl of fruit is what we have in mind. Individual, singular fruits that are their own thing, instead of what Scripture is actually trying to say. Scripture puts it forth that the Fruit of the Spirit is singular, not plural. What this means is that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control are all part of one, singular fruit, not nine separate qualities, each on their own.

The Apple Tree

An apple tree
An apple tree | Source

An Apple Instead

Apples are a really popular and great fruit to eat once a day. There are so many different varieties, there is sure to be one that appeals to your liking. "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", is even a saying that has been told to me numerous times over my life. I am still not sure who really said that first...(I am still convinced it was my parents trying to get me to eat my fruits. By the way, I love apples.)

While going through counseling, the subject of the Fruit of the Spirit came up. In one session with my mentor, friend and fellow hub page author, Grant Ray, an apple was used to describe the Fruit of the Spirit to me. Grant used an apple because it best fit the idea he had in mind when conveying the attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit to me. Once the ideas that he conveyed to me kicked in after a month or two, an apple a day in my life has truly come to keeping the "doctor" away. It just seems that God has designed Love to be at the core of everything from our problems to our praises for a reason. Seeing a "doctor" for my problems is just no longer necessary anymore. It's not that I am perfect at it, but I understand better how this "apple" really works in my life.

An Inner Look at an Apple

Inside the apple
Inside the apple | Source

Inside the Apple

One look at the cross-section view of an apple and you can immediately tell there are many parts to this wonderful fruit. Like the Fruit of the Spirit, the things on the inside of an apple all work together to form a singular, beautiful fruit. In fact, I came up with a poem to go along with this idea:

If Love is the seed at the core, Joy & Peace surround it. Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Goodness & Faithfulness are the meat & Self-Control is the nutrient-packed peel making the fruit complete.

I came up with this poem before I truly understood what this really meant. It took a couple months of pondering, reflecting and counseling to truly understand what this really means.

First of all, "Love is the seed at the core." Love is the core of everything God does, is doing and will do in the future. God is love. It is His very definition of who He is. Sometimes this is very difficult to understand, but that is because we just cannot understand His ways and methods. Love doesn't mean that we say sin is ok, it means that we love someone enough to help them up to their feet and find their way. Love is the answer to every question, every problem, every situation. Have a great marriage? It's because love is at the core. Have a terrible marriage? It's because love is not at the core. Having difficulty at work or school? Yep, you guessed it. It's because love is not being shown to each other. Not in a sexual way, but a brotherly, co-operative way. If your boss is being a jerk, maybe it's because his life is falling apart and is taking it out on you. Love is the key to all problems. Love is truly at the core. It's why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that the greatest of all is love. A lack of love caused any problem and a giving of love will solve it. That is the heart of 1 Corinthians 13 and the Fruit of the Spirit.

The Rest Will Follow

Before any of the other part of the fruit will come, love must be had first. When love is truly understood and practiced, "Joy & Peace surround it." A person who is truly loving themselves, others and most importantly, God, joy and peace will truly surround their every being. It is a natural progression of the onset of the Fruit of the Spirit.

Surrounding these is the meat of the fruit, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and faithfulness. If you're praying for patience, you're praying for things out of order. In order to have patience, you must first possess love. Love carries with it a compassion and understanding of people so you do not get angered quite so easily. It isn't about not getting angry or having more patience, it's about seeing things from the other person's shoes. As humans, it's one of the most difficult things to do because of our natural tendency to be self-centered. We have a really hard time thinking and seeing things from their point of view. Patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness come with first possessing love, joy and peace. Someone who is naturally loving, joyful, and peaceful will be all these things as well.

The final step is self-control. Self-control, like the peel, is the most visible part of the fruit. It is what gives it the color and definition of what the fruit is. Self-control is also the last part of the fruit to come. A person who is loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle and faithful will naturally possess a self-control that defines who they are. It is the integrity of who they are at the very core...love.

A New Look

Understanding the fact that love is at the core of everything in life has given me a new look at things. My prayer is that it will for you too. The answers to problems seem to come much easier now. Problems just aren't as difficult anymore; they are still frustrating, difficult and painful at times, but understanding the problem at it's core makes things a bit easier to swallow. When you understand that the Fruit of the Spirit isn't individual gifts that need to be possessed, but one wholesome gift that comes as a progression, how to pursue Christ becomes easier to understand. We are still human, we will continue to fall short of the glory of God. We will continue to mess up from time to time. The key is to understand how God is working in us, and that time is necessary to complete the work of sanctification in our lives.

So one more time, allow me to share this poem:

If Love is the seed at the core, Joy & Peace surround it. Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Goodness & Faithfulness are the meat & Self-Control is the nutrient-packed peel making the fruit complete.

Love is the core. Love is always the best answer and sometimes, love is very difficult to show in ways that we just cannot comprehend. Give it to God and let Him guide, because love is always the right answer.

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    • ginjill ashberry profile image

      Ashley TKL 23 months ago

      I agree that in thoughts and emotions to reactions.. Love is the foundation of it all.

      In the renewal of mindset, comes the depth of understanding and that emotion presets actions.. Where the mind thinks pure, adorable, excellent thoughts, the emotion feels empathy and compassion, then the actions are of the nine.

      A completion of perfect love in and through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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