Juicy Fruit

I could not believe my eyes. Could it have been my vision? I wondered if my contacts had blurred. Maybe my lenses had been in for too long and they had become cloudy.
I took a moment, massaged my eyes, and blinked a few times. Nevertheless, my sight remained the same. Then I mused, maybe someone switched the price tag. Yeah, that had to be it. The grocer marked-down my favorite fruit. They priced Pineapple at a $1.98—each. Wow! This is fantastic, and rare, I thought. I have to purchase one; they may not last.
Pineapple, kiwi, and coconut—there is nothing like the succulence of tropical fruit to enliven my day. Their luscious juices dance upon the tongue with bright flavors that dazzle the palate. What is it about fruit that delights the tongue? Their pigment, fragrance, and flavors arouse our senses. They’re perfect in their natural form, just as God created—as nature’s candy. Delicious and nutritious, fruit stimulates the body and awakens the soul. Maybe that is why it is so often used as a metaphor. The Apostle John wrote, “They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered’” (Re 18:14). John used this term to summarize the splendor of humanity—all that we desire with our flesh. Beyond the material, sages and scribes—in speaking of the human heart—have colored our imaginations with this expression. The Bible’s opening and closing chapters liken fruit with the character qualities of good, evil and life. Unfortunately, the fruit of sinful humanity rots with worldly aspiration.
Jesus said we are known by the fruit of our lives (Mt 7:16–20). He also said, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Mt 3:8). In him, we are made alive; and we can bear righteous fruit for the Lord. Saint Paul affirmed that those who believe in Christ are renewed, because Jesus is the “first fruits” of God (1 Cor 15:23). But, how do we bear fruit in keeping with repentance? Paul tells us how, by contrasting the putrid fruit of human transgression against the enticing fruit of the Spirit. He wrote, “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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” (Ga 5:22–24).
The fruit of the Spirit is juicy, luscious, and inviting. The Holy Spirit stimulates our souls and enlivens our spirits to live for God. When we strive to live according the fruit of the Spirit, then our neighbors look upon us with dazzling eyes. God does not blink when he looks upon us. He sent his son to purchase us—even when we were decaying in our sin. Our lives were not cheap; our souls cost far more than a buck ninety-eight. The cost to Jesus exceeds all the wealth in the world. Nevertheless, he writes upon our tags—“paid in full.”
Do we not owe it to the Spirit to live in such a way that looks luscious and tastes sweet for all? I believe we do. Let us then be the juicy fruit God desires, in order to draw others towards the sweet sensation of Jesus Christ. As we do, the world will rub its eyes, blink, and say, “Yeah, it’s true; their tags have been switched. Maybe I could get some of that fruit too.”