As I laid down in bed for some intentional visionary meditation some years ago, I instantly found myself in an apocalyptic-looking greenhouse of sorts.
“What is this place?” I asked.
“The garden in your head,” I sensed the Holy Spirit respond.
“What do I do to fix it up?”
“Grow fruit, of course.”
“I have no fruit in me?” I asked. “I feel like I handle things well around people, just not always with myself or around those closest to me.”
“Fruit is what happens in the moment when we are most ourselves, not something we put on when we’re around other people,” the Spirit convicted me.
It got harder. One of the more intense parts was when Jesus took me to a room where a tree representing the fruit of peace was being grown. I had just written 100 pages in a book on peace. Why did this tree look so bare?
“Peace is a strong tree, but it has yet to bear much fruit,” I heard.
I knew what he meant. True, I was a Jesus-pacifist, but I was an angry Jesus-pacifist. My thoughts might have been theologically convinced of pacifism, but Jesus likened anger to murder in his teaching, so I suppose “Jesus-pacifist” wasn’t exactly a title I had achieved yet.
By the end of this experience, I was weeping in my bed. I didn’t feel judged, just lovingly convicted. May we learn to cultivate the gardens inside of us as we grow the fruit of the Spirit. For out of our fruit and the abundance of our hearts, our mouths speak.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Luke 6:39-49 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net.