Citrus fruits

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There is a commonly-used idiom in American culture, “you’re trying to compare apples to oranges,” which speaks to the incompatibility of two items or objects that really should not be compared to one another. In conversation, someone may attempt to compare one vehicle to another, and the other person would brush off their comparison with, “they don’t even compare. That’s like comparing apples to oranges.” The examples are endless – with technology, clothing, buildings, recreational activities, entertainers, speakers and even culinary delights.

I think there’s another category that these unfair comparisons apply, and that is the Fruit of the Spirit. For example, it is great to meet nice people with great qualities, but at no point should we put their qualities on the same level of the Fruit of the Spirit. The manifestation of the Fruit of the Spirit in the life of the believer is the result of a powerful transformation that has taken place in the life of a person. It is so transforming that if not for the Fruit of the Spirit, the person who would otherwise have been calloused, inconsistent and unapproachable is now developing into a well-rounded individual in which the power of God is operating in his or her life.

Why the difference between the two? More pointedly, when you meet a nice person who has great natural qualities, although admirable, they get the credit only. When you meet a person who is exemplifying the fruit of love (without strings attached), joy (without external influence), peace (regardless of the chaos around them), longsuffering (when the average person would have given up), kindness (to those that others would have discounted), goodness (above and beyond the call of duty), faithfulness (that seems unreasonable and unshakeable), gentleness (handling people and situations with the humbleness of care), and self-control (that is measured with gracefulness and submissive engagement), you must know that these are reflections of the Power of God in that person’s life and not their own doing. It becomes clear that God is at work in their life. When you see this, God gets the credit, not the person

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Daily Devotional: “Apples and Oranges”  was originally published on