“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law.” Galatians 15:22-23 MEV
Striving and working does not create fruit. Any ole’ apple tree demonstrates this truth. The photo above is very common to my area. Central New York, USA is truly apple country with many, many orchards dotting the countryside. Each fall the orchards are full of visitors who gather their new produce with joy and take advantage of the fresh fruit.
If we trace the development of that luscious fruit, we discover the process of its development lies in the careful tending of its tree and the health of its sap. The tree just stands there – through the sun, rain, snow, wind and whatever that comes its way. It continues to stand, as its roots are nurtured by fertilizer and by trimming from its caretaker. But the tree, well, it just stands and lets it all happen.
In the spring, there is the abundance of bees and the sound of buzzing everywhere, but the tree, well it just stands. The sap is flowing within, and it continues to bring fresh life to the interior of the tree. Sure enough, a bud develops and then a flower and out of that flower a little apple. As the season continues into the heat of summer, the sap continues to flow and produce the fruit as the tree; well it just continues to stand.
The point? Well, the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit is not developed by our effort but by our fellowship in life. Paul says to the Corinthian people as he closes his letter we call 2 Corinthians,
“14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” 2 Corinthians 13:14
Paul knew that the only way to live in the fullness of what we are in Christ is to fellowship with and in the Holy Spirit. Nothing else will develop the fruit needful for our outward expression revealing our Lord in our world.
13 We know that we live in Him, and He in us, because He has given us His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him, and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, God’s love is perfected in us, so that we may have boldness on the Day of Judgment because as He is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4:13-17 MEV
So we are left once again at the doorstep of trust.
“Without faith is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
Our study will not develop these characters that are ours in Him. Our working in prayer will not do it either. We can only rest in Him and trust the Holy Spirit to develop us from living with untapped resources to releasing the full bloom of those resources. We lean and trust Him, learning fellowship in His heart as we study and talk with Him.
Learning to rest instead of working is hard on all of us. But it is the way of the Holy Spirit. We are to rest in Him and all He has finished. He calls us to trust — to just stand there. It is the foundation of everything that He does in us and for us.
Lord, teach us to rest. We have such a tendency in our life in you to turn everything into some discipline or effort. Teach us how to relax, trust and begin to unfold in your heart as we allow you to unfold in ours. Such is our journey in you. Thank you for holding us in rest.