I have a fruit basket on my kitchen table. You know, one of those cute wire ones with the little hanger for bananas. Anyhoo, I’d gone grocery shopping and bought lemons, mandarin oranges, and apples, and of course, I got bananas and put them in this basket.
About a week goes by and though I was eating the fruit, there were still apples and oranges occupying the space. I took a closer look and realized that one of my oranges had gone bad and was molded. As I removed it, I noticed that it had begun affecting the apple that was right beside it, so neither of them were any good to eat.
Yep, because I didn’t catch it soon enough, that orange ruined my apple. The thing is, had it gone a day or two longer, I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell which went bad first.
Time for Self Fruit Inspection in the Body of Christ
No, this is not about fruit. Wait… yes, it is, but not literally (go in your kitchen and check just in case, though). This, teammates, is about the fruit we bear that affects or is affected by others.
See, life is like that wire basket where I keep my fresh fruit. We are those apples, oranges, and lemons. Sometimes we get close to people who may cause us to begin to rot. Or, plot twist, we may be that moldy fruit that is spreading our rot all over everyone else. Uh-huh, it’s not always other people.
Our Playbook says in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” As you can see, none of these fruit of the Spirit come with a moldy, rotten attitude or demeanor.
If we are connected to those who have no desire to live as God instructs, we cannot properly take on the characteristics that God requires. Neither can we live fruitful lives if we are going against the will of God.
So, What’s the Play Call?
Whether we believe our rot can affect someone else, or we stay too long in a toxic situation – unlike fruit – we have the ability to reverse our rot. Here are some things to remember when that wire basket has us on the verge of “going bad”:
- Be careful who you associate with. Just like my orange and apple, when we are connected to the wrong people, we may begin to take on what they are carrying. “Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.” Proverbs 22:24-25 (NLT)
- Guard your atmosphere. What and who you allow in your space and the conversations and activities you participate in will affect you. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
- Hold on to God’s joy. Often, when we lack the capacity for joy, it is easier for us to take on more unfavorable characteristics. Allow God’s joy to overtake you. “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11
- Love yourself. I’ve been in that place where I didn’t love me, which caused me to treat others badly. How can we properly love our neighbors as God requires when we don’t love ourselves? When we do not love ourselves, we are more prone to be like that moldy orange and spread our bitterness all over others. “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Matthew 22:39
Take a lesson from my rotten fruit and check your surroundings. Change your spot in the basket, and be sure you’re not the one causing other fruit to go bad in the body of Christ.