Fruit of the Spirit – Gal 5:22

“For the Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control” Gal 5:22

Whilst serving the Lord in Cambodia I was called to give a sermon to a local congregation. The night before I had prayed intensely and studied astutely. Delivering the correct message was important to me. The sermon was on the fruit of the Spirit. Diligently I studied my Bible and commentaries, wrote two full pages of information and prayfully asked for wisdom. By the next day I was ready – So I thought.

Mangosteen - Hard Exterior Soft Interior

Seated at the church (about three hours before the sermon) an idea came to  me.  I knew it was from the Lord. “Go and get fifty of the brown tropical fruit you like, the one with a soft white flesh, yet hard dark exterior”. I went into overdrive. I didn’t even know the name of the fruit to ask for, let alone buy fifty of them! I was also to throw away my notes and trust where the Lord was leading me.

Finding an interpreter I headed out on a motorbike for the fruit – Mangosteen. We found a nearby market. There they were, on a tray, with the number 777 written on its side! I bought fifty and returned. My team mates must have thought I was crazy and were unsure of what I was doing.

At the church I handed them out and delivered the message…

Our hearts are similar to this piece of fruit. Hard and Darkened. No light penetrates them. The true fruit of God’s Spirit; Love, Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control is the sweet tender interior. A heart of flesh instead of stone. To produce such fruit our hearts literally need to be torn open. To be rendered from stone to flesh, circumcised, broken. As the tears flow, the new heart is exposed to reveal the treasure inside. We begin to bring forth God’s fruit rather than our own. Just like tearing open this piece of mangosteen.

That day seven people wept as they gave their lives to the Lord Jesus. We then all opened our mangosteens and ate the soft flesh. The physical metaphor was powerful. It communicated across the cultures of west to east. When we listen; the true vine helps us produce ever lasting fruit. The fruit of the Spirit.