My nephew owns an apple orchard. He manages several more. He also has blueberries and hopes to have peaches and plums. He’s in the finishing up stage of this year’s crop. There are certain qualities that make a good apple or any other fruit. When he grows his fruit, he wants to sell it, so people can eat them. The fruit isn’t just for show.
Suppose you were to stop at a roadside produce market with your heart set on buying fresh vegetables. You see homegrown tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and several varieties of peppers. Just as you start to select your items, the farmer who owns the stand says, “Sorry, this produce isn’t for sale. I just like to grow it and enjoy looking at it until it rots. Then I throw it away.”
You probably have never run into that situation (at least I hope not!) and never will, because farmers and customers know that produce is for consuming. Sure, it’s beautiful to look at, but the purpose is to bring nutrition and health to people.
Our lives are a lot like those vegetables. There are certain qualities that each of should have love, joy peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control. Just like fruit and vegetables, these are not for show. They are for sharing with others. Otherwise, they are like fruit that was left to rot or not even grown to begin with. So, shine yourself up, and give those fruits to others. They will feed and nourish them and give you the chance to continue to grow and provide more fruit.
22-23 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.
23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified. (Galatians 5:22-24)