Fruit Salad Parenting

There is a dead tree in my front yard. The homeowners association is not at all pleased. The tree died in a unique and curious was just minding its own business and enjoying the sunlight. But it turns out, too much of a good thing is not really a good thing at all. You see, every morning a sunbeam hits an upstairs window on my house which creates an intense magnification of the sun onto my lawn. Picture the death ray from the "Death Star" in the movie Star Wars. Yeah... it's like that. This same phenomenon happens in my front yard every morning. The ultra-intense sun beam burns an eight-inch wide line across the entire length of my lawn. As the seasons change and the sun moves across the sky, new burn lines appear on the lawn a few inches from the previous line. Sadly, one day the burn line went directly through the location of our tree.

For several days we noticed a burning smell outside. My husband and I decided somebody was burning brush nearby. But this burning smell went on for days without letting up. After several days I noticed the dirt mound surrounding our tree was smoldering. Upon closer inspection we discovered that the trunk was charred and the root system was burning underground. My tree died that day. The sun killed it.

A healthy tree has everything it requires to produce healthy fruit. These necessities include water, nutrient-rich soil, sunlight, and the proper climate for the tree to thrive. When all of these factors come together, and the tree is also free of disease, it will be healthy and fruitful. But what happens when the necessities are out of balance? Too much sunlight is bad for a tree. As is too much water (flood), too much air (hurricane and tornado) and too much soil (mudslide). All elements must be in balance for the tree to be healthy and bear fruit.

This is a perfect example of how to spot a healthy Christian life. When we place our focus squarely on God and are in tune with Him spiritually, we will bear good fruit. But what if the fruit we bear is not in balance. What if we sort of have eight of the spirit traits but we are super intense with the "love"? That can look a little like stalking. The love will be interpreted as insincere if it is not accompanied by patience, gentleness, kindness and the rest. What if we have a super-extra-Olympian measure of patience without being kind, gentle or loving? That could be interpreted as merely tolerating a person or situation instead of displaying patience. The Fruit of the Spirit must work together to bring balance to the Christian life. The evidence of a healthy walk with Jesus will be on full display in our attitudes and actions and we will have balance in the fruit we bear. Not only will we walk in love, joy, and peace, but we will parent the same way. Conversely, if we are not focused on God and are not walking in the Spirit, the fruit we bear will be “rotten fruit.” This fruit looks like anger, selfishness, and impatience.

In the coming weeks we will focus on the Fruit of the Spirit and how each fruit can be effectively applied to parenting. We'll concentrate on the fruit individually, explore what God has to say about each, and discuss how the fruit are really a package deal. You can't have peace without joy or love, and kindness without patience and self-control is fake, fake, fake.

Stay tuned... LOVE is up first!

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22–23 NKJV)

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