Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. [Romans 12:10-11 (NIV)]

It is not the extent of your knowledge, though that is useful; it is not the extent of your talent, though that is not to be despised; it is your zeal that shall do great exploits. This zeal is the fruit of the Holy Spirit: it draws its vital force from the continued operations of the Holy Ghost in the soul. [Charles Spurgeon]

strawberriesWe just received one of those beautiful edible arrangements of fruit. The fruit was displayed as if we had an enormous flower arrangement. It seemed a pity to pull off the enormous ripe strawberries or take the melon balls from the centers of the pineapple slices but it was necessary if we were ever going to truly appreciate it. Fruit is meant to be eaten and that much fruit was meant to be shared before it spoiled. As I packed it up (all the while tasting as I worked), I couldn’t help but think of another gift of fruit—the fruit of the Spirit. Like juicy strawberries and sweet melon, it’s meant to be shared. Moreover, the Holy Spirit’s fruit doesn’t need to be refrigerated, can’t spoil, and is even more beautiful than real fruit, no matter how artfully arranged.

Paul gave us a list of the fruits of the Spirit but I’m not so sure it is all-inclusive. I recently read a devotion by Charles Spurgeon that suggests zeal is also a fruit of the Spirit. Surely, all those other traits—love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—wouldn’t come to much without some zeal and enthusiasm for doing God’s work! Maybe zeal is a bit like the chocolate that covered some of those berry, apple and pineapple pieces—it enhances the Fruit of the Spirit!

As Christians, our worship, prayers, praise, faith, and service shouldn’t be lackluster and the Fruit of the Spirit shouldn’t be like a can of bland fruit cocktail. A pinch of zeal, however, can turn that flavorless canned fruit into a scrumptious and beautiful arrangement of fresh fruit.

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. [Matthew 7:20 (NIV)]

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. … This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. [John 15:5,8 (NIV)]

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