WE TEND TO measure our lives by our achievements – what we have done and what we have failed to do, the places we have been, the successes we’ve had.
That may be what we would call the ‘fruit’ of our lives. But is this what Kingdom fruit is made of? What did Jesus mean when he talked of bearing ‘good’ fruit instead of ‘bad’ (Matthew 7:17)?
Often we can get sucked into a tickbox culture. We’ve done this – tick. We’ve done that – tick. We’ve not done those things – so no ticks there.
Our lives begin to feel like forms we need to fill in. One of two thing can happen – either we get so caught up in the things we have ‘ticked’ that we end up swamped by ambition and pride, or we get consumed by the empty boxes – the missing ‘ticks’ – and disillusionment and disappointment become our masters.
But have we mixed up our definitions of importance? Isn’t it true that the fruits – the achievements – in the eyes of the world around us, are rarely the same as Kingdom values?
Consider the fruit of the Spirit – one multi-flavoured fruit comprising of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). How often do we think of ticking off these?
We can become so task driven, doing what ‘needs to be done’ that we forget to focus on the attitude behind our lives. We are not meant to be driven by the need to achieve or to prove ourselves to the world – instead the love of Christ compels us (2 Corinthians 5:14).
When we consider the fruits of our lives, whose fruit is it anyway? Is the way we live a reflection of God’s way – of the values of the Kingdom, of the fruit of the Spirit? Or are we working to a different template – one that puffs us up or tears us down – neither of which are healthy. And fruit is supposed to be healthy, after all!
Perhaps we need a new checklist – one not based solely on the tasks ahead but also focusing on the way we approach our lives. Do we act lovingly, kindly and gently? Are we driven by our own desires and opinions or by the beautifully compelling love of Christ?
Whose fruit is it, anyway?
Lord sometimes I wish I was
so many different things.
So capable of This and That,
those tasks that others
seem to excel at.
Sometimes I fear my life
will never match their template;
I feel impaired by all the things
I cannot do or ever do.
But you call me to a different
rhythm, a pattern made
of different colours.
It’s your fruit I want to show,
Your love. Your joy.
Your taste, vibrant and energising
in a weary world.
This was originally written in 2011 for my church magazine.