What is your favorite fruit?
My answers have changed in years past from grapefruit (my primary grievance with comedian Jim Gaffigan as he refers to this as the worst fruit) to avocado (we can all agree this is a fruit right?), or papaya (which my family despises). Those are all excellent fruits so it has been very difficult to choose. Until now.
There is a new fruit champion in my life. It is seasonal, and where I live it seems they suddenly appear on shelves then without notice after a couple months they are gone. The mystery of their elusive coming and going makes them even more desirable.
This fruit’s lovely aroma fills the air even before it is sliced. The color scheme is brilliant, providing yet one more reason to believe in intelligent design. And then of course the best part; eating them. They are incredibly juicy and the flavor is like a regular orange but turbo-charged as though injected with hints of sweet grapefruit, tangy raspberries, and cherries.
In case the picture didn’t give it away, I’m talking about blood oranges.
Whatever your favorite fruit is, think about it for a moment. The smell, the taste, a memorable time when you enjoyed it thinking in that particular moment you found the best most perfectly ripe specimen. Fruits are truly gifts from God.
In today’s reading (John 15:1-17) Jesus uses fruit as a metaphor for the outcome of our spiritual well-being. My beloved orange tree that produces no fruit is useless apart from being used as firewood. A stark reminder for us as Christ-followers. Our Christ-likeness on the outside reflects the Holy Spirit working within us.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
What would your friends and family say about those attributes in your life? Do they see the fruit? From experience I know of times when I was not abiding in Jesus that the exact opposite of the fruits were apparent in my life.
In short, we can abide in Jesus when we:
- Read and memorize his word, consistently, keeping his word in our hearts and minds at all times. Praying, asking, trusting he will respond. (reference to verse 7)
- Recognize the love that Jesus has for us; loving him back (love is a verb), turning to him (not the world) as the source for love. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:9)
- Following the commandments of Jesus (reference to verses 10 & 14)
- Loving others (verses 12 & 17)
The world will tell us that to have a better life we need to try harder. The world is wrong. Life abundant comes from the source of abundant life, Jesus. May we seek him with all of our heart today and bear much fruit.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)