But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who
belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Gal.5:22-25).
Leroy Eims in "The Lost Art of Disciple Making" writes:
One spring our family was driving from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa, Florida. As far as the
eye could see, orange trees were loaded with fruit. When we stopped for breakfast, I
ordered orange juice with my eggs. "I'm sorry," the waitress said. "I can't
bring you orange juice. Our machine is broken." At first I was dumbfounded. We were
surrounded by millions of oranges, and I knew they had oranges in the kitchen--orange
slices garnished our plates. What was the problem? No juice? Hardly. We were surrounded by
thousands of gallons of juice. The problem was they had become dependent on a machine to
get it. Christians are sometimes like that. They may be surrounded by Bibles in their
homes, but if something should happen to the Sunday morning preaching service, they would
have no nourishment for their souls. The problem is not a lack of spiritual food--but that
many Christians haven't grown enough to know how to get it for themselves.
One might wonder why it is that it would be difficult to get the "juice" from
the fruit of God's Word. We may say that we do not naturally know how to sit down to the
Bible and extract its good and much needed nutrients, and we may be right. It may be that
we need to be taught how, given clear direction and then set on the course that will
enable us to draw from God's Word what we need for our daily living. Yet, we must keep in
mind that it takes more than a good teacher to develop the skills in us that will bring us
back to God's Word time and again--it also takes a willing student.
It seems to me that if I have an orange sitting on my kitchen counter-top, and if there is
a juicing device sitting there as well, that I can somehow determine how to get the juice
out of the orange so that I can get a good glass of orange juice, even if I have never
used a juicer. The results may not be the best at first. I may not get much juice out of
the orange without getting most of it on the counter-top. I may make a mess, and it may
take a long time and a lot of effort just to get a small amount. But if I want the juice
badly enough, I will keep at it. And one day I will discover that I am able to get the
most out of every orange quickly, effectively and efficiently and then feel like I am
getting a lot out of a little effort. Whether someone teaches us or not and whether we
have the tools laid out for us or not, it will always come down to one thing--how bad we
want the orange juice.
Getting the most out of our time in the Word of God is very much up to us. Do we realize
that the Bible has much for us to get us through our day, then we must be willing to go to
it. We may handle it very poorly at first and have a hard time learning how to use it. In
that case, we should do even as we would with many things of importance, we should ask
someone the questions we need answered, or ask for someone to demonstrate the basics, and
then we should keep at it.
We know that it is a responsibility of Christians to help other Christians to learn about
the Bible. Yet, that never foregoes our responsibility to ourselves to keep opening up the
Word of God so that it becomes a more familiar and less difficult task--realizing the
necessity of it in our lives.
The choice will always be ours; we can either plunge in and risk the mess, or we can
continue to stare at the oranges and the juicer and wonder why we can't make orange juice.