Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace … “(Galatians 5:22)
It’s very difficult to read this list and not see all the ways we fall short. But before you start beating yourself up, try to look at this list from the point of view of the One who gave up his life out of love for you. To do this, imagine that your heart is an orchard full of many different kinds of fruit trees, and picture yourself walking through that orchard with Jesus.
As you walk together, you notice that Jesus looks happier and happier—and that makes you nervous. How can he not see the scraggly bushes that stick out like sore thumbs—moments when pride or moodiness overtook you? What about that time when you said the wrong thing and ended up hurting your neighbor’s feelings? Surely he can see that event, ugly as a tall weed?
But then he stops and tells you how much he is enjoying the walk. He starts pointing out all the different fruit he is seeing on the trees—fruit that you never really noticed. He sees the way you held your tongue when you wanted to lash out at a co-worker. He sees the way you went out of your way to help a neighbor and the way you are serving your family. As you see this orchard through his eyes, you are amazed at how much fruit there really is.
Yes, he sees the occasional weed or bad specimen of fruit, but he doesn’t look too worried. “This doesn’t bother me too much,” he tells you. “I love you, and I’ve been helping you to grow all this fruit for so many years. I haven’t stopped working in your orchard, and I see all the different ways you are welcoming me. With the power of my cross, with the grace of my indwelling Spirit, it’s only a matter of time before the good fruit overtakes the weeds. Now just imagine how much more fruit you would bear if you spent just a little more time with me every day.”
“Lord, I want to surrender to your Spirit. Help me to follow you every day so that I can produce more and more fruit through your work in my heart.” ~WAU