16 I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. — Galatians 5:16-26
What Does It Taste Like?
by Tyler Browning
What is your favorite fruit? Do you like the tart taste of a grapefruit in the morning? Or maybe the subtle sweetness of a banana (add pudding, some vanilla wafers and some meringue on top, maybe??)? Do you have to have that hint of sour with a lemon in your sweet tea?
If you haven’t been to some of the international markets in town, you really need to go. Up and down Nolensville Road, you can travel the world in just a few miles. There are Middle Eastern, Hispanic, and southeast Asian markets selling spices, vegetables, and fruits you’ve never heard of.
A few weeks ago, my wife, Liying, brought home something special from the Asian supermarket: a big, spiky durian. If you’ve never had durian, you really should get some. The experience is intense. While Liying and many others consider the fragrance to be pleasantly sweet, most do not share this opinion. Wikipedia is quite descriptive—“The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust, and has been described variously as rotten onions, turpentine, and raw sewage. The persistence of its odor, which may linger for several days, has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.” When I lived in China, friends and students would often say that if you could get past the smell, the taste was wonderful. Needless to say, I did try, but never got past the smell.
In Galatians 5, we have the well-known “fruit of the Spirit” passage. Paul declares so simply that the choices of your life will produce fruit. It’s obvious, yet profound. Galatians 5:16-17 sets the stage, saying we’re going to act according to who it is we’re following. If we follow the Spirit, we produce fruit of the Spirit. If we follow the flesh, we produce acts of the flesh. As we live our lives in step with the Spirit, that fruit becomes evident in our lives.
Recently, we’ve been looking, as a church, at how our families are supposed to point others to the love of Christ. How is that possible? The fruit of the Spirit. Think of it with me this way. Most fruit is appealing to the senses. It looks beautiful, tastes delicious, smells aromatic (most of it…forget that durian example). It draws people in. I think that’s what the fruit of the Spirit can do in our lives, families, and relationships: draw people in to the love of God.
On a hot summer afternoon, after a few hours of yard work, is there anything better than someone offering you a cold slice of watermelon? And what’s your reply? “Mmmm that fruit is good. Can I have some more of that? Where’d you get it?” Let’s pray that our lives, families, and relationships lead others to ask those same things of us. “Mmmm that fruit is good. Can I have some more of that? Where’d you get it?”
- If someone were to “take a bite out of” you or your church, what would it taste like?
- Is the fruit of your life sweet, drawing people close? Or bitter, turning people away?
- Do our relationships with others give a sweet impression? Or do they leave them with a bad taste in their mouth?
- What can I do today that will put the fruit of the Spirit on full display, so that others might ask, “Can I have some more of that? Where’d you get it?”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.