As I think about the month of September I can’t help but think of harvesting and canning. Although we’re just about done this year and the last of the produce is ripening, whenever the weather gets cooler I always envision processing jars and jars of canned fruit and jams and jellies.
And I got to thinking about the truth Jesus mentions in Matthew 7:15-20. Here Jesus tells those listening that you will know whether people are from God or not based on their fruit. “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:17).
Wouldn’t it be strange if a corn seed produced squash or if a berry bush produced corn??
We all bear fruit, it’s just a question of what kind. Once we put Christ on in baptism He begins working to transform us to be more and more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). As a result of this transformation and weeding out the ungodly things in our lives we will start to show the fruit of Christ. “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Our goal in gardening is to be able to grow fruits and veggies to enjoy in the Winter, when the days are cold and nothing grows (except germs, lots of icky germs). In order to keep the food fresh we can or freeze it. Those of you that have either canned or froze your garden spoils know that it may sound easy, but it’s not as simple as placing the fruit in a can or bag and storing it on a shelf to enjoy later.
The fruit must first be processed. Usually involving some sort of blanching where you place the food in boiling water for a few minutes followed immediately by placing it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanching is usually a minimum requirement. Often times you’ll need to process the food and place it in the jars then place the jars in a giant pot of boiling water for several minutes. Once the jars seal–that’s my favorite part especially if we use the metal lids, you’ll hear a little pop each time a jar seals–they’re ready to store and use.
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35).
One of the easiest ways to tell if you are bearing the fruit of the Spirit is to take notice of how you love others. Jesus told us that the two most important things we can do in life is to love God and love our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40). Do we show love to our neighbor? Of course it’s easy to show love to those who are like us, but Jesus reminds us that even those who aren’t in Christ do that…we are told to love even our enemies. To give to those who can give us nothing back, “For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” (Luke 6:32-36).
And if along the way you find yourself in some challenging times, days where your faith is tested and you want to give up and throw in the towel just remember that in order to enjoy salsa in the winter it must be placed in a boiling pot of water. Know that God is using your time in the hot water bath to refine you and make you better equipped to serve Him. Cry out to Him and know that He hears you and He hasn’t forgotten where you are! (Psalm 77:1-3, 10-15).
Until next time,