What are your roots absorbing? With what does God want to fill us up? He wants to fill us up with whom Jesus is for you. His love for you, his joy in you, his peace for you, his patience with you.

Source: De Reformatie. 3 pages. Translated by Bram Vegter.

Fruit of the Spirit

A tree you know by its fruit.
A person as well.

It Comes From the Roots🔗

“Fruit” is a special word, but perhaps we do not hear that anymore.

A fruit, after all, you cannot command, not regulate, or organize. Actually, you have no power over it at all. When a tree bears no fruit, you can curse all you want, but it does not help at all.

The roots must do the work. What the roots absorb, that makes the fruit grow. And then you do not understand how it works. Only God knows. That is how it is with a tree. And so it is with man.

There are indeed conditions. You must hoe your garden, otherwise you only have weeds. In a life filled with filth, you must create space. And you must come into the light, otherwise growth will not work well. And there cannot be any force, for fruit grows from the inside out.

But all those conditions are still not an explanation. When you hoe, you do not bring anything to fruition. In the light is life, but how, that comes from God.

“Fruit” always says: what now appears is very special, you can see it, but you cannot explain it. And then you are talking about yourself.

Being Full of Jesus🔗

What then are your roots absorbing? What does God want to fill us up with? Well, the idea is: with whom Jesus is for you.

His love for you, his joy in you, his peace for you, his patience with you…

If you think of him in this manner, then he will fill your heart, then you become like that (John 15:1-8). Fruit of the Spirit is that Jesus comes to life within you.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, etc. are no loose characteristics, such is Jesus!

That is how he is for you, and that is why you also become like him.

It is not a must, it cannot be forced, for it comes from God. But we can focus on this. Realize that a fruit needs time to grow. A tree, standing by the water, drinks slowly but steadily.

It is not a fast buffet. Words from God require pondering, meditation, otherwise they go in one ear and out the other.

The question is also with what else you are letting yourself be filled. For what we strive after ourselves, is against the Spirit (Gal. 5:17). Hate and anger pop up suddenly, but if you give them space in your life, then there is no room for love to grow roots. Fornication (“porno” in Greek) is a kind of flesh-eating plant that devours everything having to do with love and joy.

Jesus comes to your rescue: when he fills you up with himself, he forces everything else out, there is less and less room for it then. You also notice that you do not need it anymore.

You receive a new life. And yet, it does not happen outside of yourself, you yourself want this.

That can go very deep, and even hurt you. You lose something that you held onto in the past.

Remember especially the order of cause and effect.

Whoever wants to break with evil or an addiction often tends to start with the fruit, for that can be seen. Because of this you can become terribly disappointed. The key is: to begin with the root, receive Jesus, listen, and believe; it is like eating and drinking. Then he will satisfy you, and fill you up in such a way that he takes away all your hunger and quenches your thirst (John 6:35).

To Bloom for God and the People🔗

And yet, “fruit” in our ears still sounds somewhat noncommittal. Actually, you should eat two pieces of fruit every day, but are you indeed doing this? No, for days you go without fruit, and when you do not have much money it is a choice quickly made.

But it is not like that with the fruit of the Spirit. For this is what it is all about! The Son of God became man, just as we are, with the intent that we become as he is. That is the way to be a child of God, to come back to the Father. Forgiveness is needed for this, freedom, and inner change.

You do not hate God or neglect him, but you love Him. He is number 1 for you, also when it is about what you enjoy or what you like. So, the Son brings you home. As a child who in everything reaches out to God, as a flower reaches toward the sun.

For those surrounding you this is also important. Jesus is there for all people, also for all the people around you. He wants to show that and make them aware of it. That is why he wants to be seen in you.

To bear fruit is reaching out to God and to people. Not to show off, but to live, to grow, and to invite. Note the following difference.

Gifts of the Spirit appear in various ways. They differ for each person and so they are never decisive for the spiritual degree of your life.

Fruit of the Spirit is a remarkable singular (Gal. 5:22). This is namely the same for every Christian and unmistakable. By the fruit you know if someone is a Christian. No fruit tells you that as well.

Could it be, that we are too little aware of this? That we focus more on what we can regulate, organize, and defend?

It Begins Small🔗

The question is obvious: what does this say about me? Am I clear in the fruit that I show? Am I actually showing fruit…?

One comfort: all fruit starts small. And yet, a small fruit is already a big miracle, for it already contains everything. And no one has that from themselves. The Holy Spirit is at work in them.

What he does can be small and yet is always big.

People often look for startling things. Before they realize it, they find themselves in the field of spiritual gifts. Nice, but not decisive.

While the Spirit is promised as the One who makes us alive. He can enter into a heart of stone, to get it to beat for God (Eze. 36:26-27). The first heartbeat is already a sign of life, reason enough to celebrate. A woman who is expecting, is proud of the picture of the very first ultrasound which was made of the fruit in her womb. And rightly so. No one will say: “that is way too small”. Everyone understands that it is small and yet it is a big miracle.

Shall we also speak like this about the work of the Spirit in our second birth? Instead of placing various demands on each other and on the church in which a person finds himself?

In the meantime, the woman who is expecting turns her whole life around. If she smoked, not now anymore. If she drank, no alcohol for now anymore. Little encouragement is needed for this, even though it may be difficult in the beginning. For she does not want to endanger the little child growing within her!

Ripe for the Great Harvest🔗

Fruit does not remain small, but fruit becomes bigger so that at some point it can be harvested, in God’s time. The Feast of Pentecost was a harvest feast, the first fruits were offered to God. Fruit, when ripe, is being brought in to the Lord. So it is with our lives.

You cannot express this in years. When you celebrate your birthday, people say: “many happy returns”. That is fine. But the meaning of your life is not in its length, but in your development, the growing towards God.

The Spirit shall lead you through prosperity and adversity, through health and through illness. That is not always equally enjoyable, but this is how you come to know God. Not as the God of always sunny skies, but as the God who is faithful in his grace and mercy. In the congregation, the people with life experience can tell you much about this.

Others are young, have all kinds of plans and goals. That is fine. And yet, it all will pass, slowly or suddenly. That can be very drastic, and yet…, as strange as it may sound, it belongs to the freedom that God gives you. You are called to freedom (Gal. 5:13).

That means in every respect: you do not need anything, aside from Jesus, to go to God.

You do not have to earn anything, you do not have to prove anything. You do not have to bring anything. Only that which is in your heart comes along.

You also do not need anything, aside from Jesus, to be content. That is quickly said, it seems unimaginable, and yet the Holy Spirit proves this every day in people who are seriously ill or are handicapped. Or those who are being persecuted because of their faith.

By giving them a joy in their hearts that no man can take from them and which counters all that they suffer. The Spirit wants to give that joy to everyone.

Whoever bears fruit, will be pruned (John 15:2). This always hurts and feels counterproductive.

And yet the Farmer knows what he is doing with you. It is his intention that you will bear more fruit.

A fruit ripens because it feels the warmth and the cold, the rain, and the drought. And a lot more is involved than what man can even fathom. But one thing is sure: whoever lets himself be led by the Spirit will be amazed at some point about his own life! And about the size of the harvest over which he will rejoice, together with God.

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