Last year, I planted two fruit trees – one lemon and one lime. I carefully placed them in large pots on the patio using the soil recommended by the nursery for citrus trees. Both received the same amount of sun and water. Both bloomed. Both had numerous visits from bees and butterflies.
The two trees have had the same care and nurturing, but the fruit production has been drastically different. The lemons seem to be growing overnight. The flexible young tree branches curve down under their weight. My husband and I anticipate large slices of the tangy fruit for our iced tea later in the summer.
In contrast, the limes look pitiful. When the blooms faded, tiny little fruit balls emerged, but only two or three have grown much. Many have turned brown and dropped off. God intended for both trees to grow fruit, but only one is fulfilling its purpose.
God also intends for us, His children, to bear fruit. According to Jesus, when we follow Him closely our lives will produce “much” fruit (John 15:5). Is your life producing an abundant harvest or are you in serious need of some spiritual fertilizer?
You Are invited!
This month here at Do Not Depart, we will be studying the fruit of the Spirit. You are invited to join us each Tuesday as we explore Galatians 5:16-26 and related passages. Whether we need some major pruning or just a little shaping up, all of us could benefit from studying and applying what God’s Word says about the fruit of the Spirit.
Here are a few things we’ll learn in Fruit of the Spirit: Plant, Cultivate, & Grow
- What are the characteristics of a “fruitless” life?
- What does it mean to “live by the Spirit?”
- Just what is “fruit” anyway?
- Am I “fruity?”
- What should the fruit of the Spirit look like in my life?
- How can I improve my harvest?
Each week as we study together we will Plant God’s truth in our hearts, Cultivate our own lives to receive that truth, and take action to help it Grow! The study will be in blog format and also available as a PDF download. Today, we combine the intro post and an optional study on the context of the book of Galatians.
Where do we begin? Context of Galatians
The way God chooses to apply the truths found in His Word can vary with the individual and their circumstance. However the meaning of a biblical passage never changes. It will always mean what God originally intended for it to mean. Before we can make application to our lives we must have a good grasp of the original meaning by considering the larger context. (For more information on biblical context read “Context is King.”)
Galatians is a letter written to a specific people at a specific point in history for a specific purpose. Therefore, we need to know who, when, and why to understand the meaning. (Download the PDF of today’s lesson on the context of Galatians.)
As you work through today’s lesson, you’ll discover that some of Paul’s original audience struggled with legalism and some were abusing their freedom in Christ by indulging sinful desires.
Let’s discuss this today. So far in your Christian life do you feel you have been influenced more by the “law,” your own nature, or by the Spirit? (We may not have the influence of the Mosaic Law, but the “do’s” and “don’ts” or religion are still prominent.)