Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Advent IV

Imagine for a moment there is a piece of fruit in your hand.  Not just any piece of fruit, but one that is large, unblemished, and inviting to eat.  Imagine that as you bite into that luscious tasty piece of fruit that your taste buds are suddenly overwhelmed with the crisp taste of an apple, the softness of a peach, the juiciness of an orange, the unique flavor of a banana, the tartness of a blackberry, and the surprising taste of a handful of blueberries.  Imagine that one bite delivered all those different taste and even more.  One piece of fruit and an amazing variety of flavors and textures.

Now with the image of such a piece of fruit in your hand, go to Galatians 5:22 and read what the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write.  "...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control."  Note first of all, he wrote of one fruit, not fruits.  Too many times we preachers have talked about this passage and erroneously spoken of fruits of the Spirit.  In a similar way we have often heard someone say, "Now in the book of Revelations, even though the name of the Biblical book is "Revelation"...well, actually, "The Revelation."  But, the point is, there is one fruit of the Spirit.  To receive it is to receive a gift from God that shapes our inner being in many different ways, but each single way is interdependent upon the others.  For example, surely we can see that love generates patience as does kindness or gentleness or self-control.

As we abandon our life to God, the Holy Spirit is enabled to do for us things that we could never do. We may be able to make ourselves successful in the eyes of whoever it is we want to evaluate us, but we can never make ourselves loving and patient for such is a work of God.  Anyone who doubts the truth of such only needs to watch the unguarded, unexpected moments in our daily life when what is in our heart is naturally expressed through an action not previously considered or planned. 


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