Reflections and resources for lifelong learning for missionaries

Tag: joy

Fruit of the Spirit
Photo by Mika Baumeister at Unsplash

Exploring Spiritual Formation: Fruit – Part 1

This is the first of two posts that explore the growth of fruit in the life of a believer. Part 1 presents the biblical subject of fruit and highlights the fruit of the Spirit. Next month, in Part 2, the post will present three necessary components for bearing the fruit of the Spirit. It will also touch on fruit and disciple making, and fruit and cross-cultural considerations.

Fake Fruit

I love candy. As a child, when gifted with a few coins, I would head off to “The Little Store” and purchase something sweet. Favorites included strawberry licorice, orange slices, and grape popsicles.1Those who know me best will be wondering why chocolate isn’t on this list. Yes, I ate a fair share of chocolate in my youth, and still do (perhaps more than a fair share). However, the cacao bean is a vegetable, and we’re talking about fruit here—and the items listed above are still some of my favorites! We didn’t have much fresh fruit in our home when I was young, and it wasn’t until adulthood that I learned to appreciate the superior taste found in the real thing. Now, when I bite into a fresh, sweet strawberry, I wonder why I so often settle for the fake goodness of candy.

There are other forms of fake fruit, like the realistic looking pieces available for use in advertising, restaurant displays, or decorating one’s home (I have some in a bowl on a table in my living room).2Just for fun, here is a link to an online store that sells fake fruit for display purposes. It’s amazing how realistic some of it looks: Display Fake Foods And here is an article on the history of a museum in Turin, Italy that highlights fake fruit: Fake Fruit History However, though it may be beautiful, and though there are good uses for it, no one wants to eat fake fruit. Not only does it taste terrible, but it has no nutritional value.

Should we find joy in our ministry achievements?

“Do not rejoice in that this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)

Over the years, I have heard various missionaries and Christian leaders say that these words of Jesus indicate that he intends that his disciples should find their joy and satisfaction not in their ministries but rather in their personal salvation (justified status with God). I found a recent example of this thinking in a book I am reading, The Emotionally Healthy Leader.

Jesus sends out seventy-two disciples two by two. When they return, they are excited to report significant numerical impact and that the demons submit to them in his name. Jesus affirms their activity of kingdom building, but he also reminds them of something more important: “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10: 20). In other words, he wants them to remember that their joy comes from their relationship with him, not their achievements for him.  (Scazzero, Peter. The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming Your Inner Life Will Deeply Transform Your Church, Team, and the World (p. 37). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.)

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