Thursday, October 8, 2009

Got Fruit? (There's a point, about halfway down the page)

The lyrics are great, if you don't want to watch.. LYRICS 

This somewhat cheesy music video has a song that I really like in it called, "Got Fruit?".  It's all about the different fruits of the spirit (as found in the Bible, book of Galatians, 5:22-23).  
The FOS  is 

and self-control. 

 Nine. There are nine of them.  Some translations may word them differently, arrange them differently, but there are nine (9!!) of them.  Unless, you're a shower curtain from Meijer.  Yes, I said a shower curtain.  

I found a curtain at Meijer a couple weeks a go that had similar colors to our bathroom and had a square pattern that would go with the square pattern on our rug.  Here's the big picture:

Sorry about the poor picture taking.  I'm not the best, but you get an idea.  Cute right?  FOS themed, with a supporting verse paired with the different fruits.  

Well, don't read the verses too closely.. especially the one that lists the fruits of the spirit:

Joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith.  That's SIX! Only SIX!  

What the heck?!  Where is quality control in all of this?  Did their design team get lazy?   Imagine the uproar if a periodic table was printed and sold missing six elements.  OR!  What if the alphabet was missing six letters?  If Harry Potter had six words missing per page?  If popular music was missing lyrics!

I got a heretical shower curtain.  Or, at the least an uneducated shower curtain.  

Anyway,  I've been thinking about the FOS a lot.  Joyce Meyer has a really good way to explain the FOS.  She said, that all Believers have the FOS inside of them.  (Hard to believe sometimes, especially when thinking about myself!)  She said however, the FOS are kind of like a picture taken with a disposable camera.  You know the picture is in there, you just have to  develop the film to see it.

We need to develop the fruit that is inside of us and then it'll show on the outside.  Makes sense.  Just because we're save and now walking with the Living God doesn't mean that we've got it all together, that our character flaws are magically erased, that we never sin again, that we never say an unkind word or think an unkind thought.  There might be some things that improve right away, but for most things, we're going to need to work at them. We're going to need to be disciplined.  

How do we develop our FOS?  How do we improve on those 9 things?  How do we become more God-like? 

I think what it comes down to is making a decision.  Deciding to change, to improve to be more Christ-like.   I'll write more about decision making in another post.

Ephesians 4:22-24 says, 

"But that's no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.

When we decide to put off our old, sinful life and take on new life in Christ, we are deciding to work on our less than holy parts.  Maybe this means stopping yourself every time you have a negative thought and looking for the joy in a situation.  Or maybe it means improving your self control and not wandering to the fridge when you're bored, buying every new CD or video game, every latest fashion.  Maybe it means waiting on God to show you His way instead of you pushing ahead without patience.  It could mean any number of things.    

Wow, what a high standard to live up to.    Don't get too stressed out about it though- 

Matthew 5:48 tells us to "be perfect as your father in Heaven is perfect" or 

"In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."

What is intimidating about these translations is that it makes it sound like if you were hard, you're going to arrive at perfection.  Truth is, we won't be perfect until we're either reunited with God in heaven or Christ returns to us here on Earth.  

I read once that in the original translations, the verse reads more like, "Be in the PROCESS of perfection, so you may be more like your Father".  

That's a little more manageable to me, keep moving, keep processing, keep growing. It doesn't mean we can't work toward irradicating as many of our less than Godly parts, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't strive to a higher standard, it just means that we're not going to be perfect until Christ returns.  

I think of a few practical ways we can be developing more Christ-like character, our FOS.  

1. Be aware of where your short falls are in the FOS arena.  Know what you need to be working on.  I'm sure if you just read & pray through the passage and think honestly about yourself with each word, you can come up with your strong and not-so-strong areas.  

for fun:  a FOS quiz. :) 

2. Ask people who know you well and know at least a little about your walk with Christ what they think you should be working on.   Maybe talk to your small group, a pastor you know, a mentor, or just a close friend.  Get an honest outside opinion.

3. Read supplementary books or Bible studies. Topics like holiness, purity, character development, fruits of the spirit,  etc. would be good subjects to check out.  I'm sure a quick or google search would be.. fruitful. :) ha! 

4.   Read, read, READ your Bible!  What better way to find out how to be like God than to read the instructions He gave us?    Maybe start with the New Testament epistles (letters).  Try Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans!  All great starts to learning about Godly character.  I can't emphasize the importance of digging into the Bible.    

Some online resources to help you read the Bible more are:  


Both free, both easy to use at work or home or anywhere.  Let me know what you think.

Wow, long post and I feel like I've only gotten to the surface of a huge topic.

One last thing,  some friends and I are doing this thing called "The Proverbs 31 Challenge".  

Brandon pointed out that there are 31 days in October and there are 31 chapters in Proverbs.  The book of Proverbs are a bunch of ideas on how to live a good life, little sayings that are meant to guide someone to live a healthy life.  I guess a modern day proverb would be, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer" (Don't get me started on what I think about THAT!)  or "Misery loves company".  I don't know why I thought of two negative ones. :P  

Read one chapter a day and you'll be done with the whole book by the end of October!   Sure, it's October 8th, but it's not too hard to catch up, even if you read two chapters a day.  The chapters are easy to read and understand (I recommend the Message translation and the New International Version if you're worried about not understanding).  

Let me know if you want to do the challenge too. We've set up an email address that anyone can email to share their thoughts on passages, encourage each other, ask questions, etc.  It's pretty exciting!  

1 comment:

  1. that's pretty histerical about your shower curtain! and a point when you compare it to the periodic table or harry potter, people would demand their money back! :) i like the proverbs 31 challenge, good idea. oh and cute video too!

    emily cowan