I was eating some tasty grapes and started to think of some things I noticed before but didn’t give much thought.
For example, just by looking at the clusters of grapes you can see that grapes are very close together. As believers we should also be close together. Another thing I have noticed though is that when a bad fruit is close to others the surrounding fruit goes bad soon after. And there is a reason for this as research has shown that as fruits get ripe, they produce ethylene which increases the ripening process and interestingly the riper the fruit the more of the gas they produce so one overly ripe fruit can make the others go bad a lot faster. And if there is mold on one piece of fruit that can easily spread to the others. (Soniak, Matt 2014) That is why it is very important to think about who is around us and what we are connected to.
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-11
Now, consider this passage, “Then Yeshua said, ‘I am the true vine, and my Father takes care of the vineyard. He removes every one of my branches that doesn’t produce fruit. He also prunes every branch that does produce fruit to make it produce more fruit. You are already clean because of what I have told you. Live in me, and I will live in you. A branch cannot produce any fruit by itself. It has to stay attached to the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit unless you live in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can’t produce anything without me.’” John 15:1-5
If those around us are not producing fruit and are sickly whatever negative influences are in our environment can also spread to us, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” 1 Corinthians 15:33. However if we are serious about maintaining our connection with God and spend the most time in spiritual environments around good fruit, the good influence of those who are more mature in the faith than us can help develop and ripen the good fruit in our character and the good thing is the fruit of the Spirit can never get overripe and spoil, it only gets better.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Yeshua the Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26. But careful that you are not producing bad fruit and encouraging others to do the same. Stay connected to Yeshua.
Picture originally found here