“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
When my wife and I lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas, a lady gave us a plant and told us it was a hollyhock. I happened to be familiar with those plants from my childhood, but I had not seen one for years, so I was excited about the gift. I kept an eye on my new plant, marking its progress. However, the more it grew, the more certain I became that it was not a hollyhock. And sure enough, it turned out to be some sort of gourd, which I was not excited about.
In contrast to that experience, it is so good to know that the things planted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ do not end up surprising or disappointing us. In spiritual terms, we can compare growing plants to developing godly qualities in our lives. The Lord provides the seed and plants it in our hearts, and our part is to cultivate that seed through prayer, studying the Word of God, seeking the Lord’s will for our lives, and obeying what He tells us to do. As we invest our time and energy into the cultivation process, there is never a fear of what the outcome will be. The seed from God is good, and if cared for properly it will always produce righteousness in our lives.
Today’s focus verse tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (self-control). What wonderful qualities for a person to possess! As Christians, those are the virtues we can expect to grow in our lives as we walk with the Lord. If any of them are lacking in our lives, we can be sure that the problem is not in the seed, but somewhere in our own cultivation process. However, if we will water, weed, and nourish what God has planted in our hearts through His Word, those good qualities will grow. Guaranteed.
Gardening can be fun, but oh how exciting it is to reap the bounty of God’s promises!