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Your Fruit Tree

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23, KJV).

     Interestingly, fruit is GROWN not earned. Bummer for all us high-achievers out there! Fruit grows by spending time with God and allowing His Holy Spirit to work in us. Fruit doesn’t grow overnight; it grows over time. We cannot rush the process of God’s work in producing high quality fruit in our lives, but we can cooperate with Him fully in the process.  I have discovered when I do that, it DOES make my fruit grow faster! Let’s take the fruit analogy a bit further for some deeper insight.

     Depending on the type of fruit tree, it begins to blossom when it has become old enough to bear fruit. Even then, the health of the tree and its environment influence its ability to produce good fruit. Healthy trees produce good quality fruit. Weak or diseased trees produce little or no fruit or fruit of poor quality. For good tree health, it is necessary to prevent insect and disease damage. Recently, the Lord revealed to me how my “tree health” was suffering.

Your Friends….

     Have you ever heard that over time, you become like the people you spend the most time with?  Other than the Lord and your family, who are the people you are talking to the most? Have you thought about what friends God desires to be in you life? I am not referring to people the Lord places in our life to mentor, lead, or teach. I am referring to confidants. The people with whom we share our private hopes and dreams, pray, support, and become, as My Friend Debbie would say, “friends for the journey.” God can use our friends to make our “trees” healthy so we bear good fruit!

     One of the principles the Lord has impressed on me in choosing (and keeping) friends has been from Proverbs 26:22.

Proverbs 26:22 (King James Version)

“The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body.”

    However, it was one day that I read this from BOTH the King James Version and the Amplified Version of the Bible that God hit me with the proverbial brick! (No pun intended). 

Proverbs 26:22 (Amplified Version)

“The words of a whisperer or slanderer are like dainty morsels or words of sport [to some, but to others are like deadly wounds]; and they go down into the innermost parts of the body [or of the victim’s nature].”

Your Spirit

     Did you catch the word “victim” in that version? After reading this in both versions, I believe this scripture teaches that the “victim” is NOT the person being slandered but the person to whom the slanderer is speaking! That changed my understanding of this scripture completely. When you hear words spoken about other people or as the Bible states, “tasty trifles or dainty morsels,” they go down into your spirit (the innermost body or the victim’s nature).

     I am friends with people in leadership positions and in ministry. Often I become their “sounding board” as a form of support. Usually in allowing a friend to talk out (notice I did not say talk about) their problem, they come up with a solution. However there were some friends the Lord would no longer allow me to support. Interestingly, these friends were not engaging in slander or gossip. They were telling me true facts.

     However, in our discussions, my friends would share the name of the person whom they were counseling or assisting. Then, I began to view that person differently. God showed me, as Proverbs 26:22 states, that the words went down into my spirit (the inner most parts of the body). I became a victim! I no longer could see or speak with these people without those thoughts in my mind. My friends’ disclosures had influenced me.

Facing the Truth

     The Lord showed me how I would feel. What if I made a mistake and needed help, prayer, or counseling? What if the person I went to for help told somebody else what I did and what I was going through? Ouch! Usually when we go to people for prayer, advice, or assistance, we do not want our situation spoken about to anyone else. We usually say something like, “Please keep my situation private and do not share this with anyone.”

     God showed me the friends who did this, truly did not want the best for me. In fact, He reminded me of the adage, “A friend who gossips to you will gossip about you.” Note, my friends were not “gossiping” as we normally understand it. They were telling me true facts. The hurtful realization was that my trusted friends and confidants probably talked about me and my private matters in the same way to others.

     This was a hard thing to face. I remembered the following scriptures:

1 Cor. 13:6-7

Love…..always protects. (NIV)


1 Peter 4:8

…love covers over a multitude of sins (NIV)

     Love does not expose. If love was my friends’ primary motivation, they would not have disclosed WHO the people were. Rather they may have discussed only the situation and the advice given.  People who are wounded and afraid, or guilty and ashamed do not need exposure. They need healing. What does God do with such people? Think what He did with Adam and Eve. He covered them. What did God do for us? He covered our sins in the blood of Jesus. In fact, the Bible states we are given a gown of salvation and a robe of righteousness. There again, we see a covering. That is God’s best. It has been a painful lesson but I have gained wisdom in choosing trustworthy friends. 

Proverbs 11:22

As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.

The Results – a Healthier Tree

     It has been a few years since the Lord revealed this to me. I am amazed at the difference in me personally. Overall I am less suspicious of others and have a more positive outlook. I am thankful for things that I have previously taken for granted or overlooked. I am more concerned for the emotional well being of everyone I speak to, especially when I am in a hurry. Before, I may have been short and snippy. Now, I tend to have more patience. This isn’t always, all the time, and everyday (because I still make mistakes) but there has been a huge improvement! It is like a red-flag has been activated in my spirit and on it reads, “love people, don’t judge people.” I believe my fruit is growing and is higher quality than before. Praise God!

     I truly had become a victim. I did not realize how oppressive I felt hearing the problems and sins of people that God did not call me to help or minister to. I wanted to support my friends but I should not have allowed them to speak this way. (As a side-note, if you are in a position of leadership or ministry and find yourself disclosing another person’s private matters on a regular basis, God may not have called you to that position. Or perhaps, it is for a future time and you need to gain more strength and maturity first.) The Bible is clear, love covers and protects.

     Did you notice in the passage, Galatians 5:22-23, the first fruit listed is love? Paul also states in Romans 13 that just love alone (without any other fruit of the Spirit) fulfills the whole law! If you do not have love, you will not have the other fruits of the Spirit. I had allowed my “tree health” to suffer. I did not see how “disease” had crept in and I was not producing the high quality fruit that God desired from me. I am so thankful He has strengthened my “tree!” 

Copyright © 2008-2015 Dorena DellaVecchio, Ph.D.

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