I’ve written a couple of posts in my Love Is: series so far but I think I need to set some some foundations before continuing with the specific characteristics of love. In my next post I’ll be focusing on kindness, but first let’s zoom out a bit. To understand love we need to understand the source of it.
Kindness is an attribute of love. Love is a fruit of the Spirit.
So what is a fruit of the Spirit?
The pure, true love of the Bible comes from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit starts to work in your life by changing you from the inside out. Sometimes slowly.
The process of farming is often used in the Bible as a word picture to describe spiritual concepts. I’m a farmers daughter who spent my summers working and playing in my dad’s vineyards. The smells, sounds and processes of grape growing are what my childhood was made of. My favorite analogies in the Bible are those that speak of vines, branches, and fruits of labor.
The grape plant starts as a little wisp of a trunk which the farmer tenderly ties to the support wire to give the fragile growth some foundation. This little trunk won’t produce fruit right away, if it tried it would kill it. It needs to become rooted in the soil and strengthened at it’s core before it can ever think about becoming fruitful.
After two years of care the vine is mature enough to produce fruit but the farmer (that’s me;) knows that the plant is still to young to handle much fruit to she cuts back some of the fruit-bearing branches to control how much fruit the plant produces. In the summer the plant grows taller and in the winter the cold winds blowing up from the lake strengthen and toughen it into maturity. After two years of this the plant if ready to produces to it’s greatest potential.
Trimming and pruning will be neccisary for the rest of the plant’s life to control how it grows and the quality of fruit it will produce. The plant works hard to grow up to 10 vines but you must cut them off until only 4 remain for the vine to bear good fruit. If the farmer is neglectful for just one year the vine will grow out of control and produce sub par fruit (like this) but a well kept vineyard with produce quality fruit for years to come (like this).
This analogy might not be perfect but it does help us understand how the Holy Spirit works in the life of a Christian to grow spiritual fruit. Just like a vine, you might not produce fruit right away. There is a lot of maturing, growth, and painful pruning your life needs to go through before you’ll see the harvest. Like a vine, the pruning part is painful and often doesn’t make sense. If you don’t understand how it works it would almost seem like you’re harming the plant by removing so much, but by leaving only a few vines all of the plants energy will go into growing the fruit on those vines resulting in plump, healthy grape clusters.
Just like a vine you will not produce good fruit without the farmer’s help. The Holy Spirit is the farmer of your life and you need his pruning, cutting, wisdom and guidance in your life to produce fruit. To love like 1 Corinthians 13 you need the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, the farmer of your life.
In Galatians 5 Paul writes a comparison of the work produced by our flesh to the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit.
The works of the flesh are “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” (5:19-21)
The fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (5:22-23)
Your life, like a vineyard, will produce fruit. Growing like the wild grapes or allowing the Holy Spirit to work in you will determine what kind.
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I’m no theologian so if you read this far I’m proud + I’m no theologian so please study this for yourself. I try my best to be accurate but I’m still learning.
Up next: kindness. Stay tuned.