As we continued to meet, I asked my client to daydream up a space where they could meet with Holy Spirit. We would return to this space in future sessions to see what the Spirit might want to communicate about their inner healing process as we moved forward. As time went on, a theme would present itself over and over again: whenever we had major breakthroughs in inner healing, fruit would appear in the landscaping.
I caught the Bible’s “fruit of the Spirit” theme quickly. As we overcame strongholds and struggles, the good fruit of the Holy Spirit was bursting forth in their life. I asked them to water the fruit in the daydream, but they said they couldn’t. Every time they tried, they saw the Holy Spirit take their watering can from them and do it himself.
“Why is that happening?” they asked.
“It’s the Spirit’s fruit, not ours” I answered. “We just have to make the space let him grow it.”
Growing the Spirit’s fruit is one of the great goals of the Christian life. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, created a doctrine known as “Christian Perfection,” in which fruit was central. His belief was bold, but simple: as we grow with God, we might one day get to a place in this life where we no longer sin intentionally. He believed that this state of life would come about as we did the following: (1) love God with all our heart; (2) cultivate a heart and life all devoted to God; (3) regain the whole image of God; (4) have all the mind that was in Christ; and (5) walk uniformly as Christ walked.
Wesley directly connected Christian perfection to the fruit of the Spirit. After being asked, “What do you think of those in London, who seem to have been lately renewed in love?” he responded: “I think most of them with whom I have spoken, have much faith, love, joy, and peace. Some of these I believe are renewed in love, and have the direct witness of it: and they manifest the fruit above described, in all their words and actions. Now let any man call this what he will: it is what I call Christian Perfection.”
For Jesus, spiritual fruit is a part of the discerning process as to who and what to trust and listen to. What is the fruit of the person or their teaching? Is it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control? Does their fruit line up with the Holy Spirit or is it at least trying to? If we were to ask these questions more often in all aspects of our lives, we would be quicker to defeat the lies that try to entrap us and the cultural ideologies that long to conform us. May we instead give our heart, soul, mind and strength over to the Spirit and be conformed to him. May we create the space for him to water his fruit.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Matthew 7:13-20 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net. For more on daydreaming with the Holy Spirit, check out Greg Boyd’s books, Escaping the Matrix or Seeing is Believing. For more on the fruit of the Spirit, check out my book A Taste of Jesus. Below are the various AI-created pictures I typed into existence via Mid Journey to mock up artwork for today’s post.