A number of years ago I was in the Philippines visiting some friends when someone handed me a fresh mango. As I bit into the orange flesh, the juice immediately ran down my chin and started dripping onto the ground like a leaky garden hose. That was all it took for me to get hooked on mango and eventually I ate so many that my lips got raw.
Eating a fresh and ripe piece of fruit is a wonderful treat, especially when it is succulent and filled with sweet nectar. But I have also learned that I have to use caution before I simply bite into a piece of fruit. One time I didn’t pay any attention and when I bit into an apple I encountered a nasty rotten part with a worm in it. I couldn’t spit it out fast enough and everyone turned to the sound of “ptooey!” as the apple bits flew from my mouth. (As a side note: ever since then I only eat an apple after cutting it into slices with my pocket knife).
Like most things in the physical realm, we can learn spiritual lessons from fruit, especially from the way they can be damaged. First, of course, only a healthy tree can produce good fruit; similarly, only a good spiritual life produces good-quality spiritual fruit, so we must take care to stay properly watered, intake the right spiritual food, and get plenty of light in order to flourish.
Just like fruit that can be harmed by fruit flies and the maggots they lay inside the skin, we can also allow spiritual intruders into our lives. When we give into bitterness, unforgiveness, and other sinful habits, we can open the door for the Lord of the Flies to send intruders our way who will seek to rob us of spiritual vitality.
I love a good banana, but I hate them when they are all bruised and mushy. Similarly, we can become spiritually bruised when we are traumatized and don’t deal with it properly. Consider that a bruised fruit is the result of trauma, a hard hit that damages the layers under the skin. When we are persecuted, suffer loss, or face adversity, we have to deal with it in a godly manner—otherwise we allow the hurt to grow and fester into something that is even more damaging to us and those around us.
One of the easiest ways to know if you are doing well spiritually is to look at the kind of fruit your life is yielding. Are you having inner turmoil and lots of angst, or are you enjoying peace and joy? Taking the time to think about whichever one it is will help you to determine if you are doing things spiritually right or not. If not, it’s a good idea to make whatever adjustments and changes are necessary so that you start producing good fruit!
What is the good fruit that we should be abundantly growing? Galatians tells us that love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (loyalty and allegiance) gentleness & self-control are just a few. This is a great and inspiring list of fruits we should be growing!