Instilled in my mind and in my actions are the desire and the will to teach my family the things of God. There is no doubt that if you were to come into my home after a routine family dinner or during a sporadic Saturday morning breakfast, you would hear me reiterate facts about God and see my determination to make sure that my children are ingesting every morsel. My will to do this is like an engine that drives me. It is as important to me as anything else in life. My father and mother taught me from a young age the importance of impressing the Word of God on my family (Deuteronomy 6: 4-8). It isn’t so much what they said as it was what they did. As often as they could my parents would sit down with my twin brother, three sisters and I, and worship God through song, pray over and with us, and dig into the Bible. They helped us to apply scripture to our young lives. This was mostly done at the dinner table directly following my first and second portion of whatever great meal my mother would whip up. The only slight disappointment was the fact that my father was pretty strict around dinner, and though I often asked for a third portion, that request for gluttony was rarely honored. I have zero doubt now, as a father of 4 girls and 10 or so years removed from my youth, that the Word of God is “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV). It is simply seen in the fruit that was produced through my parent’s actions and attitudes.
I didn’t write the last paragraph to brag about my parents or myself. I was simply pointing our hearts and minds toward fruit. I often speak to my children about fruit. I say to my girls, “tell me about fruit.” “What do you know about it?” Here are some of their answers:
“Fruit is juicy, Daddy!”
“Fruit smells good!”
“Fruit tastes good, Daddy”
“Fruit sure is sweet!”
In talking about fruit the only place you have to visit in the Bible is Galatians 5:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.
I feel an overwhelming sense of conviction as I write. I only have to look back as far as my last dinnertime devotional to see that my own fruit is often spoiled. How ironic is that? My lack of patience with my children was not very “juicy.” My internal response to not having the perfect dinner in front of me did not “smell very good.” And my gentleness, or lack there of, in how I responded to my wife’s question was not very “sweet.” Even as Christians our fruit often leaves a lot to be desired.
My prayer for you and I is simple this morning. I pray that we would “Walk by the Spirit,”(Galatians 5:16, NIV) and in so bear fruit that is refreshing, tasty, and addictive! The only way our children, neighbors, co-workers and the world will be attracted to the Jesus we serve is through the fruit in our lives.
I encourage you to be that fruit for your children; to encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Remember, it’s not just what we say, but what we do. Our fruit, sweet or sour, will leave a lasting impression.
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