Who can resist a red, ripe, juicy strawberry? After just one bite of the perfect blend of sweetness and tartness, the taste buds explode, and beg for another… and ANOTHER! No human confection (even chocolate) has anything on this gem of the earth!
It reminds me of when my daughter was just a toddler and ventured into a strawberry patch we had growing in our backyard. Once she discovered the delicious fruit morsels, right at her level, she sat down in the middle of the patch and ate one after the other, until her face was smeared with strawberry juice!
That’s the way it is when we taste of the Spirit of God.
Once we experience the satisfaction of his presence, we can’t get enough! Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” It’s like nothing else we’ve ever tasted, and can’t be replicated by any other source. His compassion, his wisdom, his lavish generosity, his impeccable timing, his protection, his power, his faithfulness, and many other attributes fill us with lasting joy. Only he can meet our deepest, most intimate needs. Once we taste of him, no replacement will satisfy.
The “enemy” tries to rob us of this experience with our creator, by continually tempting, lying, and offering counterfeit experiences, so we won’t have our true cravings satisfied by God. This is like eating junk food, which seems to taste good at the time, but later makes us sick. Because we are born with a sinful nature, it’s easy to behave in ways we later regret. “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Galatians 5:16). As we habitually nourish our souls on the words of God, and let his Holy Spirit fill us, the enemy will have no power over us.
You know what they say, “You are what you eat.” As we feast on intimacy with God, his very nature becomes part of us. Qualities such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control become who we are. We become like Christ, reflecting his nature. And others are drawn to him, by the fruit they see in us.
Although, we don’t always measure up to this standard, we don’t have to work to be better, to have more patience, kindness, self-control, etc. The strawberry doesn’t strive to become sweet, juicy, or bright red. It simply reaches its roots deep into fertile soil and drinks of the life giving water that is offered, and naturally grows into the fruit it was destined to be. So it is with us. As we seek intimacy with our loving Father, through prayer, meditation on his words, and serving others, we become like him, and his fruit grows in us. Psalm 1:3 says, “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
How can we maintain this life-giving flow that produces fruit in us?
Galatians 5:25 says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” In ballroom dancing, we learn to follow the lead of our partner. In the same way, we must partner with the Holy Spirit to guide us. At first we might get out of step, but with practice and sensitivity we become a better partner, who stays in step and smoothly follows the lead. As we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice to lead us, we will be in for a fruitful and adventurous partnership.
Kathleen lives in Happy Valley with her husband Scott, of 38 years, and daughter Hilary (pictured here). Together, they have attended Grace for about a year. She is the proud mother of six adult children and one grandchild. After many years of managing a lively household, she and Scott are soon to become empty nesters.
She has a passion for the arts, and over the years has taught art classes, enjoyed stories (and written a few), has been involved in arts ministry, has written and directed a Christmas musical, and is currently teaching piano at a local studio.
As a native of Oregon, Kathleen enjoys the beauty of the Northwest, and appreciates the abundance of organic fruits and vegetables available to us. During the summer, (no surprise) she enjoys picking fresh berries whenever she has a chance!