April 2, 2008
Is that Fruit any Good?
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Entertaiment Editor
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23, NIV
It's the age-old question that you may have asked yourself this morning: How can I tell if a cantaloupe is good or not?
I'm not a mind reader, but I think it really is possible that you may have already asked that today. Since cantaloupes are now available year-round (and not just in the June to August peak season), chances are you might be purchasing one very soon. If not today.
So, naturally, you'll want to know what techniques you should have at the ready when it comes to figuring out which cantaloupe is good.
Well, there are different tests that can be employed. Lora Brody, author of The Kitchen Survival Guide (which, incidentally, is a great gift for new cooks, the college-bound, nearly-weds or newlyweds), explains:
Selecting a ripe melon can be tricky, so I suggest you ask the produce clerk for assistance the first few times. Melons, and this is more true with cantaloupe than honeydew, should yield slightly to pressure when pressed at both ends. Make sure to choose melons free of soft spots. A melon should smell nice and sweet. This means it is ripe or nearly ripe.
Well, thanks, Lora. Now we all know how to identify good cantaloupes. Another important point to note is that cantaloupes will not ripen once they have left the vine. Interesting. That's something to keep in mind as we consider other types of fruit. Virtual fruit, if you will. Like the fruits of the Spirit we should bear as Christians.
But how do we know if we are bearing good spiritual fruit? Perhaps we could apply this same cantaloupe test to our lives to see if we are yielding anything good...
We should ask for help... If you're unsure about your fruit-bearing-if it's good, bad or nonexistent-it's best to always check first with the No. 1 Fruit Expert. Seek the Lord, for his fruit is better than fine gold (Proverbs 8:17-19).
We should yield slightly to pressure... How we react when trials and suffering come our way says a lot. Are we hard pressed on every side, but not crushed? Perplexed, but not in despair? Persecuted, but not abandoned? Struck down, but not destroyed? (2 Corinthians 4:8)
We should be free of soft spots... Are we protecting our vulnerable areas from the enemy? Have we put on the full armor of God so that we can take a stand against the devil's schemes? (Ephesians 6:11-18)
We should smell nice and sweet ... Are our lives a fragrant aroma or a stale stench? Do we emit the gospel of grace through our words and our deeds? (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)
We should stay connected to the vine to ripen ... As Christ followers, we have to stay connected to the Vine for our ripening process lasts a lifetime. Christ produces the fruit in our lives. Apart from him we can do nothing (John 15:4-5).
When was the last time you employed a fruit test in your life? Spiritual fruit, like the cantaloupe, is always in season. Try testing yours today!
Intersecting Faith & Life: Which fruit of the Spirit could use some work in your life? Write it down on an index card (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control). And focus on this virtue for a week. Ask the Lord to help you to stay connected to him as he "ripens" this area of your life.