Last week I wrote a post on the quote from Arthur Weasley on “The Truth Will Out” and how we are to live in to what we repeatedly do, the whole idea of “perfect practice makes perfect.” But how do we know we are moving towards something, how do we truly know we are getting better? Jesus often speaks in parables and many of his parables are agricultural in nature. Jesus also speaks about bearing fruit and the fruits of the spirit.
Bearing fruit comes in many ways, and we may not always be able to see exactly what we are moving towards. Some species of fruit trees take years to produce fruit, some plants only take months, while others literally produce fruit in weeks. All of this diversity in how fruit is produced is something that has always confused me, why are thing not consistent across all of the different plants. Why do some fruit grow on trees, others on bushes, while still others in single small plants.
The older I get the more I see this diversity as an admonition to see the similarities between the plant and human world. Some people catch incredible fire and zeal incredibly quickly, while others take the slow, steady, and silent approach to their faith. And indeed doing quietly is an admirable quality for a person to possess. But when we begin to bear the fruits of the spirit, or to produce yet other fruit in our faith, how do we know?
Maybe we often place to heavy an emphasis on measurable increase, but I think we have to know things in that deepest place within our hearts. Our hearts are the true measure of our faith, and the more we live in to our faith the more we will share our heart with others. This can be an incredibly difficult thing to do, and so many people move from sharing faith to pushing people in ways that are not truly nurturing.
When we begin to bear fruit one of the best affirmations we can receive is for those who are around us the most to notice the difference. Do not think that this process will necessarily be easy though, believe me when I say this may be a painful process. Just like growing up is sometimes painful, pushing ourselves towards something new will always be hard. Especially if there is the memory of what came before still present. We often have to overcome previous versions, or at least the memories of our previous versions, before we can truly move to something new.
I think we often underestimate how difficult it is for us as fallen human beings to truly live in the way Christ calls us to. This process of fake it until we make it holds true for bearing fruit. Just like orchards of trees that are not producing fruit bud, flower, and then grow, just like the orchards that do produce fruit. We must do our best to go through the budding, flowering, and growing process with grace and smile to face our next challenge.