How to Know if Your Fruit is Fake

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.

fruitFruit of the Spirit

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.

The Key to the Simple Life is: More

In case you haven’t noticed, we are living in a world of weary people. Folks desire the simple life but, instead, find themselves striving and stressed. Ironically, this seems to be most apparent during this season of peace and good will toward men. We think it is necessary to buy everyone the perfect present. We have to make great grandma’s Christmas candy and it just won’t be Christmas unless we put out every single decoration and lighted whatnot that we own. coffee

Maybe, you think you’re just stressed because of the season and, when it’s over, you’ll be okay. You forget that you were just as dissatisfied with the way life was going back in July as you are now.

The problem you’re having is nothing new. The struggle for fulfillment is pretty much the theme of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon was the richest, wisest, and most accomplished man around and he had this to say about life.

All things are full of weariness; – Ecclesiastes 1:8

He was weary with his life.

the eye is not satisfied with seeing, not the ear filled with hearing. – Ecclesiastes 1:8

He was unsatisfied and struggled with contentment.

there is nothing new under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 1:9

He was bored.

See, nothing much has changed. If we are honest, we tend to be a weary, unsatisfied, bored people.

Maybe you feel that way. You go through the daily tasks. You do what you are supposed to do. But, at the end of the day, you just feel like you’re missing something. Life seems complicated and you long for something, well, less. Something simple. The irony is that, in your search for simple, you add more stuff. You think you need more organization, so you buy a new app for your smart phone. Nothing says simple like something homemade so you pull out the cook books looking for something. Forget the fact that cooking stresses you out.

You think you need to read another book.

Follow another blog.

Find another hobby.

Before you know it, your search for simple has become anything but simple.

Believe me, I know. I have been seeking simple for months. I haven’t completely found it, but I did discover a huge clue right here in the book of Ecclesiastes.

I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after the wind. – Ecclesiastes 1:14

All is vanity. Fleeting. Here today and gone tomorrow.

Striving after the wind. Grasping for things we can’t keep. Desperately reaching for things only to have them slip through our fingers.

The key words in that verse, however, are under the sun.

All of the above descriptions (weary, unsatisfying, boring, vain) describe a life lived under the sun. This is a phrase used to describe a life lived apart from God or his leading. Solomon wasn’t saying that all of life was vanity and striving. He was saying that all life lived apart from God was vanity and striving.

So, what was missing? King Solomon had wealth and women and fame and education and possessions. He had everything that he could provide for himself and, yet, something was missing. There was this elusive thing which he could not give to himself.

JOY.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment. – Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

A life lived apart from God is an exhausted and unfulfilled life.

The first step to a simple life is to replace our striving with joy. And, oddly enough, the key to the simple life is more. More of him.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy. – Psalm 16:11

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I’m working on a January series for the blog called Seeking Simple. Each week, I will look at a different area of our lives that needs simplified and, hopefully, give some practical tips that will help. I’m still working on it so, if there is a particular area of life you would like addressed, send me a note – servantslife (at) gmail (dot) com –  or leave a comment on this post.