Thursday, April 5, 2012

Who does not love spring?  I have never heard anyone say that the newness of spring was anything less than beautiful.

Although I have yet to own a flowering tree of my own, blossoming trees are one of my favorite parts of spring.
Pink, delicate little clusters that come together into texture, smells and design that only God could have created just amaze me.  My mind drifts off to singing "What A Wonderful World"  in my deepest Louis Armstong voice.
And don't worry, those of you who know I can't sing, it's all in my imagined voice, not my real one.  (My sister laughs when I say things like: "In my mind that sounded just perfect!")

What a wonderful world, in deed.  "Ohhhhh Yeahhhhh."

Those little blossoms fall to the ground and cause a mess for a couple of days until they sort of melt into the earth.

But just take a look at what comes next.  

I can hardly wait every year to buy fresh cherries.  Being a Michigan girl most of my life probably has something to do with that.  We once took the kids to Traverse City and ate cherries for 4 days straight.  We watched the trucks carry bins of cherries down the road, and when they took off from red lights it was all that we could do not to run into the street and pick up the cherries that fell off of the trucks.
I was reflecting this morning on the Fruit of the Spirit.  

Galatians 5:22-23

 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I was an Awana teacher for nearly 10 years.  Therefore, I teach at a 5th grade level in my mind all day long.  There is hardly a lesson that I don't turn into a visual for myself.  It must be the creative learner in me that has to SEE what I am talking about, not just HEAR it or read it.  Right now I am walking down the hall to our classrooms of my old church in my imagination.  And I am leading 45 kids who are all singing the adjectives of  the fruit of the spirit at the top of our lungs.    Yep, my imagination is a wonderful place to visit.  

Like the cherry tree, or the apple tree, or any fruit at all, there are stages to growth.  
Then what happens?  We sit and eat our fruit all summer long, enjoying the benefits of  labor, love, watering and care.  We then take the time to prepare fruit for our winters, when the trees do not produce, and we have to rely on our stored resources.  

So just like it takes this:

to produce this: 

It also takes this:

and this:

to produce this: 

Everyone has their own version of what this looks like.  If you ask the sinner, or the convicted person; someone who has the Fruit of the Spirit in their life showing, they will think that means judgement and unkind actions.  
Oh friend, I don't want that to be true from me.  Because I know what is right in the eyes of God, does not mean that I am hateful or judgmental.  It means that I know what works, and it is God's plan for our life to live in fellowship with Him.  He cannot live among our sin.  It's in his very nature, he just simply cannot.  

I pray that the fruit of my spirit looks as beautiful to God as a bowl of fruit looks to me.  I pray that my bowl overflows with kindness, and goodness, and joy and patience.  I pray that I keep myself in the word, and in prayer, and ever learning of God's grace and forgiveness so that I can keep my spirit growing and producing fruit.  

Dear Christian, enjoy the spring when it is before you with beauty.  Then enjoy the summer season, and eat up the fruit while it is fresh and delicious.  The winter will be coming, and you are never quite sure when it will hit.  Be prepared, with roots deeply grown in prayer.  Those deep roots may be the only thing to hold you up and keep you strong during the cold and dark days of your winter. 

While there is still life in this tree, it has grown cold, and the fruit it once produced is not evident.  
I will pray for the spring to come again soon.  


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