Go ahead! Pick on me!
Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith. Scripture calls this the fruit of the Spirit and it grows as a result of work. It begins on the inside—where no one can see—and with careful attention and cultivation it begins to grow out where it can be seen, admired, plucked, and tasted. We must work out our own salvation. The work takes place in our heart—and then we have something to give—we have fruit for others to taste. CHRISTmas fruit!
Nearly every day we hear children or adults report that someone is “picking on” them. In the Song of Solomon we meet two people who are very much in love. The bride invites her beloved to come “pick on her.” Awake, O north wind, and come, O south! Blow upon my garden, That its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its pleasant fruits. She knew the north wind was chilly, biting, and penetrating, while the south wind was mild, gentle and pleasurable. Either wind, or both, would blow the fragrance out from the garden where others could smell it. She no longer needed to keep it all to herself, but was now willing to let the fruit be shared with others. When the Spirit blows, the fragrance flows!
Her prayer was for the winds to blow upon her garden, but then immediately she changes it to his garden. When we have been espoused to Jesus Christ, then we too acknowledge that everything is His. Our life, our very being, is His garden and therefore all of the fruit that our life produces is for His pleasure. After all, it is by His Spirit that the fruit grows. He plants the fruit. He waters it. He gives the increase. Nevertheless, He does not come into the garden uninvited.
God loves for us to invite Him into the garden of our life. You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.‘ He spends much time comforting us, instructing us, causing us to grow and mature and bear fruit, but He does not selfishly take all of the fruit; He shares it with others. He tells them: I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. (To His Friends) Eat, O friends! Drink, yes, drink deeply, O beloved ones.
Once the trees have grown to maturity and produce fruit, they can reproduce over and over. We are trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord…that He might receive the compliments and thanks. If it seems that all of our fruit is being picked, we should not be alarmed. God knows we will grow more! God receives the first fruit, then He shares it with others.
When the Lord’s friends pick on us, instead of thanking the Lord for the privilege of feeding them, too often we complain. We need to change our attitude and remember it is not our fruit, but it is the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit is not grown just to look at, but to be picked and eaten. How is this possible?
…pick on your love, love them!
…pick on your joy, cheer them up!
…pick on your peace, comfort them!
…pick on your patience, bear them!
…pick on your gentleness, stroke them!
…pick on your faith, encourage them!
…pick on your meekness, teach them!
…pick on your self-control, don’t get upset with them!
No one likes an apple tree just to look at. The fruit is good-looking when the mouth waters and the taste buds desire to sample it. So it is with our life and the fruit of the Spirit that grows in us. When others see it, their spirit begins to crave it. They want to taste what they see. Their ability to taste depends on biting the teeth into the fruit—through the skin. When we feel that people are getting under our skin, we need to stop and think: they are biting into our fruit. Will it be the sweet-tasting fruit that we have allowed the Spirit to grow? Or will it be a bitter work of the flesh?
Next time someone starts picking on us, we will know that our beloved, Jesus Christ, the King, has invited them to join Him in eating His fruit in His garden—our life, and we’ll respond by saying, “Go ahead! Come into the garden. Pick on me!” We are delighted to share with others. This is the fruit of Christ in our life—our CHRISTmas fruit!
(c) East of Bethlehem, C. Yvonne Karl, Brentwood Press, 2003. Chapter 12.
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