The first thing I noticed when I walked into her kitchen was a beautiful glass dish full of bright, yellow lemons. I had been spending too much time on Pinterest and had been noticing that everyone seemed to have this fresh fruit in the kitchen thing down pat. It was cheery. It was refreshing. It was perfect.
After a few minutes of chit chat, I had to ask.
“How long will those lemons stay pretty and yellow like that”?
My friend gave a grin, took one out and bounced it on the counter.
“Forever”, she said. “They’re fake”.
We still laugh about that. I was totally fooled by a bowl of fake fruit. While sitting in a fancy dish, you would never know the truth. If you were ever in need of some lemon juice, however, you would quickly discover that fake lemons are pretty but not useful.
I couldn’t help but think of those lemons as I read in Galatians, this morning.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… – Galatians 5:22-23
If you are a follower of Christ, there should be some fruit on display in your life and it should be real. People interacting with you should be able to tell that there is something refreshingly different about you. In this world where so many things are fake, people will be watching to see if you are what you seem.
It is no light thing to call yourself a Christian. Christians are to walk as Christ walked and to love like He loved. There are people who are hurting and struggling. They will look to your life to see if Jesus has made a difference. If the fruit in your life is all for a show on Sunday morning, they will not be interested. If your fruit does not cause you to respond differently or treat others better, no one will be interested in the Christ you claim.
How can you know if your fruit is fake?
- Do you only love people who love you back?
- Do you carry a grudge instead of grace?
- Does your peace turn into worry when things go wrong?
- Do you respond in kind instead of with kindness?
- Are you quick to complain when things don’t go your way?
- Does your self-control go out the window when someone cuts you off on the interstate?
- Are you only generous when it isn’t a sacrifice?
- Do you only serve when it’s convenient?
- Are you quick to be critical?
- Do you fail to forgive?
Let’s be honest. Fake fruit has its charms. It is always pretty. It is easy to maintain. If displayed properly, it impresses others. You just have to blow the dust off of it every now and then and everything is great.
When hard times come, however, a fake lemon won’t take you very far. Some plastic fruit won’t give you peace at night when something has gone terribly wrong.
The real fruit – the kind that comes with sacrifice and sweat – is what Christ-followers need to be offering to the world around them.