As a young child, I would frequently visit my grandparents’ house in Michigan. I loved visiting their house, mostly because my Grandma would spoil me with extra attention, occasional new toys, and full rights to play with her kitchen pots and pans.
I loved taking out every last piece of her cookware and pretend to bake with it. In her living room, I would set up chairs and pretend they were my kitchen counter and stove. She would help me tie a hand towel around my neck to be my apron.
Of course, after I was done cooking whatever I made, she would be my taste-tester. She would smile at me, with affirmation; the meal I made was perfect!
On the corner of the counter in her kitchen was a large basket filled with fruit. It looked beautiful and very tasty. The best part of this fruit filled basket was the bunch of perfect looking grapes. There were two bunches; one light purple and another larger bunch of green. They were ready, just waiting for me to eat.
On one visit, I asked her if I could eat some. To my surprise she replied “no.” I was very disappointed about the answer she gave me.
I wondered “Why won’t my Grandma share some grapes with me? She has plenty and doesn’t she know she’s supposed to share!”
I couldn’t resist. I had to just try one.
My small hands reached up over the counter and I plucked one of the smooth, round grapes from one of the bunches. I didn’t want to get caught taking one of my Grandma’s forbidden grapes so I quickly popped it in my mouth.
This was like no other grape I had ever had. It crunched, but didn’t really break apart. As quickly as I had thrown it into my mouth, was as quickly as I spit it back out.
“Bleh! What’s wrong with this fruit?”
My Grandma had come back into the room and saw what had happened. I thought, for sure, I was going to get in trouble. She laughed slightly and said “Kelly, that’s not real fruit. It’s plastic.”
I had been fooled by an impostor.
I had tried plastic fake fruit and it tasted nothing like the real thing. The plastic fruit was neither delicious nor nutritious.
Thinking back on this story made me reflect on John 15:5 where Jesus says “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” That if we remain in our relationship and trust in Jesus, we will bear much fruit.
Not just any kind of fruit but good fruit, like the fruit of the Spirit.
How do we know if we are producing real fruit versus counterfeit fake fruit?
Look around in your life. Where do you see that you are:
- loving others
- joyful in your circumstance
- peaceful with even our enemies
- patient with those that grate on our last nerve
- kind to those who don’t deserve it
- good to those who are less fortunate than ourselves
- faithful to family and friends
- gentle to the broken, hurt, and fragile people
This is a very hard list to get every single item perfect every single time. No one can master this list, and we can’t be perfect at fruit bearing. Thankfully, Jesus was the perfect fruit-bearer and encouraged His followers to “remain in Him to bear fruit.” Through the work of the Holy Spirit, good fruit can bear from our sometimes awkward growing trees.
What does fake fruit look like?
Like the plastic fruit I mistakenly ate as a child, fake fruits of the Spirit can be deceiving and sometimes hard to spot:
- A person speaks kind words but lacks genuine compassion for people.
- A smile appears patient but inwardly there is doubt that the person will ever change.
- Good deeds are done but they secretly wish someone else would to them.
- Shows self-control, but questions whether it’s really important
- A person gently encourages others but there is an inner fear
(List adapted from the book “Growing Leaders”)
The audience of the world may stand and applause the beauty, worth, and efforts of the “fake fruit,” but at what personal cost?
Are we being real fruit or fake fruit?
Following the path,