When we talk about becoming more loving, more joyful, more peaceful, any of them, it's easy to come away with "just try harder!"
The problem is most of us have tried before. We don't struggle for a lack of effort on our parts.
So the question before us is, If I don't see the Fruit of the Spirit in my life, does that just mean I don't have what it takes?
The answer is No! The fruit grows in the life of anyone who is following Jesus. That's because in that same story of those two trees, we find this statement about our purpose:
"The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it." -- Genesis 2:15 (NLT)
When God created the Garden, and the Two Trees and humanity, we were put in the garden to cultivate it. We're designed by nature to grow and to be fruitful.
So the question we really need to ask this morning is, Which tree are you cultivating?
As little as 150 years ago, nearly every human on the planet farmed. That's not the case anymore, especially in this country and especially for us children of Suburbia. How many of us grew up on a farm where we were actually involved in growing crops?
Because so few of us understand how farming, how cultivating works, we miss a really important aspect of this discussion. We think the fruit is our responsibility to produce. So if there's not fruit, we need to try harder. If I don't think my life is very peaceful, I need to try to be more peaceful.
But these fruits are the fruit of the Spirit. Just like in planting, we have no control over the plant itself. We can't make it grow. We can't force the seed to sprout, the flowers to bloom or the fruit to grow. If the plant is unhealthy, all we can do is tend to the soil in which the plant grows.
So today, let's take a look at the soil of our lives. Let's consider whether we are cultivating lives that are ready to receive the Gospel seed and grow the Spirit's fruit.