One of my favorite Christian songs is Heartbeat of Heaven by Steven Curtis Chapman. I have very few Bible passages committed to memory, but the “fruits of the spirit” mentioned in this song have lived in my mind for over 20 years and serve as the root of who I strive to become as a spirit having this human experience.
Loving, joyful, peaceful, patient
Kind and good and full of faith
Self-controlled and gentle
Oh the heart of heaven beats this way
-Steven Curtis Chapman
Regardless of one’s religious or spiritual beliefs, most of us can agree that these nine fruits are character traits that we all should strive to exemplify. I’ve seen shades of these qualities described as tenents of other religions as well, so Christianity isn’t alone in prizing these as a goal to work toward in personal and/or spiritual development.
I was inspired to write about the fruits of the spirit after I learned about growing fruit trees. As I listened to the lecture on the subject, I thought about some interesting parallels between literal fruit development and how we develop fruits of the spirit:
- Trees in general should not be staked in order to stand upright. Allowing a tree to blow in the wind, as a sapling, encourages the roots to grow deeper and stronger and create a more stable base for the tree so that as it grows it will be able to support its new growth and not topple over with the first strong wind.
- The soil, site, spacing and care of fruit trees must be right in order to produce fruit.
- Fruit usually doesn’t appear in the first year or so after planting.
- Pests and disease must be prevented since many pests and diseases can ruin an entire crop or not be managed once the disease sets in. Prevention is key.
- The winds of life my blow us around, but know that this will only make us stronger as long as we are learning to live without being dependent on someone or something to get us through the stressful times.
- If we are trying to grow in a situation that is not conducive to producing fruit, we may never reach our full fruit-bearing potential.
- The fruits of the spirit may take years to appear consistently in our actions. We are all works-in-progress.
- Self-care is key for being able to embody the fruits of the spirit. If we do not show ourselves love, patience, etc. how can we expect to show others these things? Also, Self-control and others are much easier when we are rested, healthy, etc.
Which fruit are you trying to grow? I’d love to hear from you! 💜👩🏻🌾