See all my sweet peas? No? I don’t see them either. But they are there. Right after I took this picture, I picked 40 and left 27 to grow. They are there.
A few are right there on the end of the little branch, proudly declaring themselves, but most of them hide behind stems and leaves, worried about the bright sun and marauding birds, too timid and embarrassed to expose themselves.
But there is a trick to get this fruit to show. Gently shake the plant. The sweet peas react differently to the shaking than the leaves and stems do. They sway differently. Your eye, if you are looking, sees the difference at once.
The Holy Spirit, bearing His fruit in our lives, allows us to react differently as well. When God gently shakes our world, our reactions differ from those of the non-believers around us.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12.
Perhaps our world just needs a little shaking for our fruit to show up.
I must admit I would rather the shaking not be necessary. I would rather the fruit be obvious. Oddly enough, even then, it is sometimes hard to see.
Sometimes I don’t see the fruit that is right in front of my eyes. Sometimes I don’t see my keys sitting on the table, or the mayo in the fridge. What is it that makes me not see the thing right in front of my eyes? Is my mind preoccupied with other thoughts? Am I so stressed about looking for it that I’m temporarily blinded? Am I running some visual tape from the past instead of actually looking at the present view? Do I do this with issues far more important than mayo or keys or peas?
You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn – and I would heal them. Matthew 13:14-15, Also Acts 28:26, Isaiah 6:10, Jeremiah 5:21, Ezekiel 12:2.
Somehow, we can tell when we are looking and actually seeing. We can tell when others are actually seeing us; we can sense it when we are talking to them. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to have Jesus concentrate his gaze on you. Whether you were a rich young ruler (Mark 10:21), a tax collector (Luke 19:5), a fisherman (Matthew 4:18), or a denying disciple (Luke 22:61), when Jesus looked at you, when Jesus saw you, he saw what was really there. Not blinded by outward appearances, societal norms, or preconceived notions, Jesus looked and saw.
Jesus can see the fruit that the Holy Spirit is growing in our lives. God can give us this type of sight as well. We can see God around us; we can see the fruit in others; we can see the fruit in ourselves.
So have no fear; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I have said to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered proclaim from the rooftops. Matthew 10:26-27.
These verses aren’t talking about the shameful things we try to hide; these verses are talking about the fruit that God is bearing in our lives, the tender moments when He heals our pain and takes our hand. When God is bearing fruit in your life, some of it will be obvious, but some may hide, camouflaged by our daily lives. So don’t worry when God shakes your life a little; He’s just making His fruit obvious to the world.