By Pastor Royston Smith
Summer is an interesting season. Days are longer and the sun is at its hottest. Whilst airlines, tour operators and leisure industries are buzzing to cater for the avalanche of holiday makers seeking timeout from their regular lives, farmers and horticulturists are hard at work. They experience very long workdays. Whilst farming is an all-year-round activity, summer is by far the busiest period. Time in the fields is spent ploughing, mulching, and planting. The soil is warm, moist, and inviting for the new seedlings. Unimpressed by my soft hands, an experienced gardener, concluded that mine were anything but growing hands. In my defence I explained that though I may not have green fingers, I sow all year round. My focus is on planting the word of God into the soul of humanity. So, technically, I have spiritual green fingers. She responded with a polite chuckle.
Weeds and pests are the unwelcome visitors on farms. Their parasitic activities rob young plants of the nutrients necessary for healthy development. Dedicated farmers weed, feed, water and use pest control measures to protect their produce. Sometimes potentially harmful herbicides and pesticides are added to remove pests as well as fertilizers to provide nutrients. This is thought the best way to maximise yield. A bountiful harvest is anticipated.
The Christian life is one of growth punctuated by various setbacks. We too have weeds of bad habits which stunt our growth. In order to control the weeds, and pests and apply fertilizer – we must check bad influences, adjust our attitudes and feed our spiritual lives. It is only through conscious and deliberate actions that we can avoid being trapped in ungodly behaviour and led astray by selfish desires. As we yield to the Holy Spirit and allow him to transform our characters we will become like Christ. The prophet Jeremiah warned, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV). Only God understands the human heart therefore when we yield to Him, He gladly moulds, reshapes and corrects us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5: 22-23). These are the qualities found in God’s children. A tree is named by the type of fruit it produces. Similarly, a believer produces the fruit of the spirit. Spending more time studying the Bible encourages Spiritual growth/maturity. In addition, it increases one’s influence as it relates to evangelism.
History has a way of restating our vices and hiding our virtue. As a matter of fact, we all have inner conflicts. There is an internal desire to be morally good and produce good fruits. However, we are torn between two opposing forces. The natural instinct pulls us towards doing wrong, while our conscience restrains and directs us to the right path. Shakespeare writes, “The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.” The fruit you produce will long outlive you. Have you determined what your legacy will be? The Holy Spirit is the fertilizer necessary for a productive life that will lead you and others to God.
Dear Jesus, help me to stay connected to you so I will produce fruit that represents you. May the Holy Spirit live in me so that I can be a positive influence on others and live a life that pleases and glorifies God. Amen.