‘Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.’ Eph. 5:13
So, what is fruitlessness anyway? I had a little round of it myself when I first moved in here.
I’m cheap and I save old wall calendars. The really nice big ones with beautiful themes and pictures you get for Christmas. I figure they’re too good to throw out only after a year so I simply glue a new month over the calendar part. I like big boxes to write in so an 8.5 x 11 is a good size. Well, I had an old Flavia calendar that matched my new décor so I glued new pages on it. I had an niggling this wasn’t good use of my limited time or energy but did it anyway, it matched so nicely. I stood back to admire it. I couldn’t see the numbers from my chair. I’m in graphics and could easily do big, bold numbers, although I’d have to do it twelve times and print out twelve more pieces of paper. How much more time did I want to invest in this old calendar anyway? The niggling began to shout.
Then I read the above scripture. Fruitlessness. Hmmm. Where’s the fruit in this I wondered? It reminded me of a litmus test an old sage once told me. When I’m unsure of a decision, ask myself: ‘Will it matter a year from now? Five?’ Usually that sheds some light. And indeed, it did.
But then the second part made me swallow hard: ‘ … rather expose them.’ At the surface I interpreted that as my duty to expose you and what I interpreted as wrong. Extremely dangerous. And sadly, I was on that train for a while. But thankfully I have now come to believe it is the fruitlessness I am to expose. And that I can graciously do. Like my calendar project here.
But still at the end of the day many are still left with one question: Why? Why does it matter if I spend a week gluing pages on a dated calendar or why should I care about fruitlessness at all? If it floats my boat isn’t that enough? It can be. But here’s my further response to that.
We are built to love, to help each other, and are given a unique character set to do just that. Each and every one of us has a built-in compass to guide us to that end. And when we live harmoniously with that we find a truly rich, fulfilling and engaging life. When we don’t, there’s an itch that will never be scratched and an emptiness, a wanting we can never quite place. So, that’s why fruitlessness matters. Living in or out of God’s will is another way of putting it.
‘By your fruits you will know them.’