Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reaping Righteousness

One night at church, as the Bible lesson neared an end, my smiling 12-year-old son hovered in the doorway. His Scout meeting down the hall was over, and he didn't realize he was a distraction. After I interrupted the lesson to shoo him away, he went into the next room and idly began ringing a bell.

I knew he was unaware that he'd become an ever greater distraction. Our teacher continued summing up her lesson, not letting frustration lessen her focus. And her focus lessened my frustration. When our meeting was over and my son returned, I was able to smile as I pointed out his mistake and told him to apologize.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23

In the car, I told him how I'd enjoyed the lesson, and benefited even more from the teacher’s example of patience, which bore witness to her maturity in Christianity.

A few days ago, I'd been shopping for groceries, and I passed up the bananas because they were as green as grass. The fruit was fully grown, but it was in no way ripe. I explained to my son that the fruit was like a lot of adults that I encounter: long grown, but still not spiritually mature.

I added that green fruit doesn't always ripen. “Sometimes it just starts to rot,” my son replied. I nodded, pointing out the danger for a spiritually immature adult – that without growing into faith, life can go to waste.

But placing a green banana with ripe ones can lead it to ripen as well.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:15,16

Our lesson had exhorted us to feel an urgency to share saving faith with others who don't yet realize the love of God. And I was learning because of my time spent with the others at the church. The patience I’d seen had helped me to yield it too. The fruit of the Holy Spirit, once shared, helps other Christians mature and be fruitful. Sharing the fruit of the Holy Spirit with those not yet acquainted with Him, sows the Holy Spirit into the world.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Genesis 1:28

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