In case you have yet to pick up on it, the Bible is pretty much a metaphor machine.  Between Jesus’ parables and Paul’s sometimes obscure references, it often feels like you are trying to solve a riddle to find the underlying meaning of a particular scripture.  There are other times when there is an obvious message, but the implications run much deeper than it appears at first glance.

One of those pieces of scripture is found in the book of Galatians.  “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)

The fruit metaphor in scripture is usually pretty clear.  Fruit usually represents a good work or deed.  It refers to offspring and increasing numbers.  In this scripture, we are given a specific list of fruit that come directly from being led by the Holy Spirit.

As we have seen before, Paul uses the fruit illustration to talk about good things that come from being obedient.  There is no debate that love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are all great things.  In fact, it would be hard to find anything negative that could come from this list as long as a person’s heart is genuine and focused on the Lord.

However, there are deeper messages and implications in this list that Paul does not fully explain.  Over the next nine Fridays (Fruitful Fridays), I am going to discuss, in-depth, how each fruit can be lived out and what it would look like if truly guided by the Holy Spirit.

For now, however, let’s take a deeper look at the fruit metaphor itself.  What could fruit represent that we have not already discussed here? 

First of all, where does fruit come from?  It comes from trees, right?  Sort of, but that is not what I am looking for.  Fruit…plants?  No, that’s just ridiculous.  Fruit, my friends, comes from…wait for it…fruit.

Fruit contains seeds.  Those seeds are planted and new plants grow.  From those plants, new fruit is produced. 

Like edible fruit, the fruit that we produce should not just serve a purpose and cease to exist.  The fruit of the Spirit should plant seeds that produce more fruit…that produce more fruit…that produce more fruit...and so on.

We should also keep in mind that fruit produces nourishment.  While an apple a day keeps the doctor away, love can have an eternal impact on the lives of everyone around you.  The fruit of the Spirit provides nourishment to the souls of those we serve, and it recharges our own spiritual batteries. 

And of course, let’s not forget Jesus’ reaction to a tree that failed to produce fruit.  “Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry.  Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.”  (Matthew 21:18-19 NIV)

As we dive into the specific fruit of the Spirit over the next couple of months, please feel free to share any other “fruit metaphors” you come up with in the comments section as they apply to this piece of scripture.  I always find it amazing how many different lessons people can learn from a particular passage of the Bible.

5/23/2012 11:21:48 am

Although no biblical metahpors come to mind, I took a botany class and we learned that seeds can squeeze through up to thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch. That made me think of each person as a seed, just thinking about how much we can all overcome to grow and bear fruit of our own.


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