Naked Fruit: Getting Honest about the Fruit of the Spirit
by Elisa Morgan
It's not about nice. Love? Yes. Joy? Definitely. Peace? Positively. Patience? Yep. (Like it or not.) Kindness? Goodness? Faithfulness? Check, check and check. Gentleness? Of course. Self-control? Even when you'd rather not. Niceness? Nope.
Relax. This book isn't about being nice. MOPS International CEO Elisa Morgan helps busy women like you get past "nice" Christianity and get to the honest, simple truth: the fruit of the Spirit is about being like Jesus.
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Excerpt from Naked Fruit: Getting Honest about the Fruit of the Spirit
Coconut: A coconut is undoubtedly the toughest of all fruits. Its stone-like shell insulates from all but the most damaging of outer attacks, and protects the sweet meat seed within.
Hurry up and wait. To most of us, patience is what we need when our schedules don’t match up with life.
Usually we think of patience as perseverance through the most trying of circumstances. Racing to the doctor’s office only to arrive and be told that he’s running late. Selecting the Express Lane at the market and then noticing the customer in front of us has way overdone her limit of fourteen items. A weather delay ruining our return flight from a business trip. A traffic snarl keeping us from a preschool performance. There’s a very real kind of patience that has to do with such quandaries: patience with situations.
But this isn’t the kind of patience addressed in the Bible’s Fruit List. The word in the list actually means patience with people. More than that, this kind of patience is also patience with people’s problems.
This kind of patience is holding your hands back while your five-year-old creates her fifty-third-in-a-row set of bunny ears to loop (whoops — missed it again!) into a shoelace bow, all the while puffing, “I can do it myself!” This kind of patience is sucking in our breath when our husband returns from the store with the WRONG kind of cereal when we had specifically written down the name for him. This kind of patience is listening — a looooonnnnnnggggg time on the phone to our lonely mom who drones on and on and on about her life but shows little interest in ours.
Patience is hanging in with people and their problems. Oh, did I mention — the problems of these people it’s hard to have patience with usually affect US as well?
I have a friend who let me down — big time. She’d promised to cover a commitment for me, and then didn’t. It hurt others. It hurt me. I looked carefully at my own responsibilities in the matter. Perhaps I shouldn’t have delegated the job to her. Okay. But she’d committed to me. She messed up. She let me down. She blew it. And I felt like blaming her and telling the whole world it was her fault. Not mine.
Just about this time my then eleven-year-old-son, Ethan, spilled a dose of orange decongestant on my cream-colored bathroom carpet. My first attempts at stain removal seemed to make it worse. The stain spread. But eventually, with enough water and rinsing and sopping, the orange lessened to peach and then to pink. Almost gone. And yet it still remained. This would take work — the chemical kind. After four applications of spot remover, the stain was finally out, or at least you couldn’t see it through the suds of the cleaner.
Mistakes make stains. And stains take work to remove. They don’t automatically pick themselves up off carpets and walk down faucet drains. Someone has to work to remove the stain of sin. Someone did. Jesus has done the hardest part already. The work he did on the cross when he died to forgive all our errors is done. Now Jesus asks us to join his work. Our job is to receive his love and forgiveness and extend them to others.
Patience is hanging in with people and their problems…sometimes to the point of forgiveness but always to the point of love. No wonder this fruit is so tough to peel, much less practice in the raw day to day of life!
Fruit for Thought
Time to get down to it. Are you holding on to a grudge, stuck in unforgiveness, or unable to move toward a person who’s wounded you or someone you love? Ask God to grow the fruit of patience in you for this specific relationship. Be honest about your emotions, as they need to be processed. Process what steps you might need to take to demonstrate patience in this spot in your life.
Order your own copy of Naked Fruit: Getting Honest About the Fruit of the Spirit for more insight into growing a life that matters.