"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
Most of you know that our ministry runs a Thrift Store. The items in the store have all been donated. The store is only open three days a week. That is when we ask people to bring their donations. We have put up signs asking them not to leave it on the sidewalk or at the door when we are closed, but some ignore the signs and leave it anyway. I can't tell you how many phone calls I receive by friends telling me that someone has left something at the door. There have been times I have happened to ride by and see the sidewalk literally lined with bags of clothes.
I said all that to say that what is happening when people do that is about more than just having to deal with the donations at an inopportune time, but it is about my "fruit" being tested. As Christians, we are to bear the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit is in our lives for two reasons. It is the character of Christ, which is suppose to be revealed through His people. And it is so that when they see our lives, they can "pick" the fruit in order to taste and see how good He is.
Fruit-- even the fruit of the Spirit-- has to be produced. It has to go through a process of development. When it is mature, it can then be picked. How do we know when fruit is ripe and ready to pick? We women know how. When we go to the market, we "thump" the fruit. We "smell" the fruit. We may "eat" a piece. We may "squeeze" it. In other words, there is a "test" we put it through to see if it is ripe and can be enjoyed.
The fruit of the Spirit in our lives is tested as well. When I see all those bags sitting there when the store is closed, the fruit of peace is tested. Do I get angry and out of sorts or do I remain calm? When people ignore the signs, do I start complaining, or does the fruit of joy and patience reside in me anyway?
There are many ways the fruit is tested in our lives. Sometimes it is tested when telemarketers call non-stop. Sometimes it is tested when you have to tell your child "no" for the hundredth time. Sometimes it is being tested when your boss asks you to stay late. Sometimes it is being tested when you are called names at school.
If when the test comes the fruit remains, then it is ripe and others can "taste" Christ in you. If the fruit gives way to the flesh, then the fruit has to continue to ripen... it is not ready.
Have a great day. What you are gong through may be a test of your fruit to see if it is ripe and ready to pick.
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