Last Updated on June 22, 2018

It was a beautiful summer day for my son’s 11th birthday, not the southern sweating-and-sweltering we have way too often. We actually celebrated the night before, but there was one gift missing.

My mischievous, baseball playing, left-handed son loves fruit. Loves it and devours it! He once stood in front of a crate of clementine oranges at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and ate an undisclosed number in rapid succession.

He especially loves peaches. And so we give him a traditional gift for his birthday – an enormous can of peaches. But this year? No canned peaches.

Instead, Dad took a vacation day, and we loaded the family into our 2002 gold Chevy van for a 15-minute drive to a whole orchard full of fresh peaches. Oh my goodness! There were so many peaches that in some of the trees, branches had broken off under the weight of the fruit. As we started picking, we showed the kids how to check for ripeness and choose only the best soft, yellow, fall-off-the-tree fruit. The green, bruised, and scarred fruits were to be left behind. Twenty-five pounds of fragrant peaches later, we headed home.

Two analogies immediately came to mind.

First, trade canned peaches for fresh. If the fruit of the Holy Spirit, according to Galatians 5, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, am I experiencing these in my life daily because I walk with God daily, or am I counting on yesterday’s “canned fruit,” say, from Sunday’s sermon, Thursday’s Bible study, or my devotion as a child? Is my love for my family fresh every morning? Is my kindness to my neighbor genuine? Is my self-control keeping my words in check every day? If the answer is no, I need to recommit myself to spending time with God every single day, talking with Him, reading His words in the Bible, and choosing to follow His ways. Then the fresh fruit will grow!

Second, realize we all produce fruit – and a lot of it. But that doesn’t mean it’s all good. To be honest, some of it is plain rotten. Galatians 5 also mentions the bad fruit of immorality, impurity, idolatry, jealousy, angry outbursts, disputes, and drunkenness. In plain English? Selfishness, arguing, addictions, valuing someone or something more highly than God, thoughts of men who are not our husbands, angry outbursts (I think we understood that one), jealousy (that one, too). All nasty, stinky, rotten fruit. When we have the Holy Spirit in our lives, He shows us our bad fruit. And when He does? Drop it on the ground, and leave it behind!

Only God can replace the bad fruit with good.

So what’s it gonna be, mom? Canned fruit or fresh? Rotten fruit or soft, yellow, fall-off-the tree, delicious fruit? What will you serve your family today?


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