Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

From Rotting Vegetables to Fruit. . .

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 31 October 2008

So, apparently when your five-year-old daughter is standing next to you and you discover this

. . . in your vegetable crisper, you are supposed to stop the world and scrub down the entire refrigerator with a bucket of PineSol.

ESPECIALLY if you are a Stay-at-Homeschooling-Mom. What an opportunity!

This is not the first time this kind of thing has happened at our house. . . . And OH! The blogging possibilities! It's a bummer though, I don't really have it in me to say anything funny about it . . . .

I will say that the refrigerator is now a thing of beauty. It shines like the top of the Chrysler Building. And I don't want to sound bragadocious, but I am pretty awesome as a Mom!

Let us enjoy the moment. . . .

Last week I discovered Home Sanctuary where Rachel Anne offers simple household tasks -- one a day -- to help us make our homes a sanctuary for our families. What a beautiful idea.

In good conscience, I will state emphatically that I am the Queen of Spork and I took Tuesday's chore to a new level and actually cleaned my kids' bathroom too!

And to take Rachel Anne's idea one step further -- why not use simple household tasks to teach spiritual lessons?

As Christians, we do waste opportunities. I am more than guilty. I've missed plenty of opportunities to bless my children because of my obsession with FoxNews. It runs 24/7 in our house! Good Grief! I could turn it off for 15 seconds.

Okay . . . 15 minutes.

I could also do a better job of incorporating vegetables into our family's meals before they turn stinky and ugly and furry.

Our lives are so full of God distracting activities and just plain useless garbage. We need a renewed sense of priorities. Getting rid of the useless garbage (see rotting vegetables above) is a wonderful first step. Getting rid of distractions helps us put both our priorities and our purpose in proper perspective. (Just like my crisper drawer. It is now ready to hold all those beautiful carrots and tomatoes saved from the frost this week.)

God does speak to our hearts on all matters if we'll just listen. Sometimes we just need to clean out the garbage and distractions first. He is always attempting to get us to draw closer to Him. Sometimes he has to remove the distractions Himself. The distractions must go away if we are to going to be receptive to God’s constructive and purposeful guidance?

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

~ John 15:1-2

This "Fruit Guide" (below) is something I used in a small group study once several years ago. I'm posting here today for my own personal evaluation and to share with you.

I love the wording -- it really challenges us to honestly evaluate each area. I'm less than enthusiastic to share all my scores, but I did score fantastically on one -- Faithfulness. (Needs Work: Kindness.)

How 'bout you? (Care to comment?)

The Fruit Test. . .
Rate yourself on each Fruit of the Spirit on a scale of 1 - 10.
1 is lowest. . .
10 -- "I am doing fantastic!"

___ LOVE Love is pre-eminent in my life. I see all people through the eyes of Christ. I have a deep compassion for the lost, the lonely, the weak and the poor. I am magnanimous towards those who “get in my hair.” I keep no record of wrongs. I give selflessly, sometimes till it hurts. I go the extra mile. I would rather forgive 20 injuries than avenge one. God always comes first.

___ JOY People know me for my joyful disposition even when there is a cause to grieve. There is a contagious radiance about me because “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” I remain strong and positive when things go wrong because I trust in God. I am quick to see the brighter side of things. I know that for my shattered plans, God has better plans. My contentment springs from the knowledge that God is sovereign and Jesus is coming, again.

___ PEACE The peace of God rules my heart and mind. I stay calm in disturbing situations because my eyes are fixed on Jesus. With few exceptions (and I’m working on these) I enjoy wholesome and beautiful relationships all round. Whenever relationships are strained or fractured I take the initiative in moving toward healing and restoration. I can see the dark spots in my own life and am quick to confess them. I am willing always to pay the price of being a peace-maker in a world of bruised relationships.

___ PATIENCE I never make hasty judgements or speak hasty words. I am not quick at jumping to conclusions. I am patient with people when they fail or fall. I face opposition and discouragement with composure. I never give up. I keep cool while others are hot. I am not irritable or easily angered. My “tolerance level” is extremely high. I can put up with a lot. I accept people for who they are and not for how they perform. When I confront others, they feel I do so because I care!

___ KINDNESS People feel “love’s touch” when they’re around me. I am blessed with a M-I-L-D disposition (though, occasionally, I do turn that “M” upside down). I let God deal with the bitterness, anger and malice in my heart. A deep respect and consideration for others, coupled with a forgiving spirit, makes relating to people such a pleasure! The kindness of Jesus is seen in me.

___ GOODNESS The goodness of God touches my life and then overflows into the lives of others. I am a caring person, a friend and neighbor to many. A genuine benevolence characterizes my life. When I see a need, I respond to it in the compassion of Christ. I am sensitive to the evil and suffering around, and seek to be an instrument of God’s liberating touch. Uplifting the quality of people’s lives is a major concern to me.

___ FAITHFULNESS I make promises and keep them. I am a man of my word. People can count on me. There is no gap in what I say and what I do. Fidelity is the hallmark of my marriage and other commitments. I do not flirt with the world or with anyone. I am true to the Lord, to my spouse, to people, and to causes that God entrusts to me. They are all sacred to me!

___ MEEKNESS I am willing “to go under” any yoke that God wants me to to be SUBMISSIVE to God and to one another out of our mutual reverence for Christ. I freely and willingly accept all that God, in His providence, gives or withholds from me. I am willing to step “under the yoke” with Christ and my co-workers in kingdom service. I am willing to step aside when it is time to do so. I bring myself under the authority of Christ and His Church. I can “glory in my infirmities so that the power of God may be made manifest in me.” I bear provocation without being inflamed by it. I give a soft answer when angry words are spoken. I respect my own rights and the rights of others, willing to give up mine if the Lord so guides me. I am a pro-actor not a reactor. I relate to others as one among sinners never arrogantly.

___ SELF-CONTROL The key to my life is self-mastery. I am temperate in my thoughts, words, and actions. I live a disciplined life-in private and in public. I have complete mastery of my body, my mind, my emotions and will, my time, my possessions, my desires and appetites. I never lose control. I don’t eat too much, drink too much, work too much, play too much, or sleep too much: no excesses whatever! Jesus is Lord over every area of my life!

~ Esthermay Bentley-Goossen

© 2008 The Heart of a Pastor's Wife


Jenn said...

I needed this today.

I wanted to ask your permission to share your many fruits with a few friends through my email. If that is OK with you, I'll be sure that you are credited with your copyright symbol.

That is truly a beautiful post. And with all the "cleaning out" I am continuing to do with this move, it was perfect timing for me. Of course, God's timing is alway perfect! =)

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Barbara said...

This is VERY Good. Thank you. I'd like to share it also with my Bible Study Ladies.
I score 'fantastic' on only one fruit too. We are so lacking as Christians sometimes.
Thank you for this.

Kate said...

That's funny. The 24/7 FoxNews lives at my house too. But you right. It could go off every once in a while. I want to borrow the Fruit Test too. You do have an amazing blog.

joy in the morning said...

Ditto on the "May I Borrow This?"

And, you need some Debby Meyer Green Bags!

Robin @ Heart of Wisdom said...

This is Esthermay. Turn off Fox News for 15 minutes- are you insane! Let the fuzzy stuff grow. :)

Household chores are great object lessons on priorities and our purpose (so is mucking the barn).

The Fruit Guide is super. But I'm not telling you my score. I'm just very grateful that God took me just the way I am and is patient and lovingly waiting to produce fruit though this branch.

I'm priting out your Fruit Guide to use as a prayer.

Thanks so much for this post.

Esthermay said...

Ladies: ABSOLUTELY! You may share it, print it, put it on your blog, whatever! Be blessed.

It is eye-opening, isn't it? God's Word always is when we allow it to reach us and change us.

Laurie Ann said...

Oh, how God is speaking to me through this post! I did a series on the fruits of the Spirit but have never evaluated them in my life on this scale. Awesome post, my friend, and something I will really be doing some soul-searching on.

Ben said...

Ben found your post this a.m. and sends me. This is a wonderful barometer of the Fruit in our lives. I wish it were in Japanese for our ladies. In all honesty, I fall desperately short in patience and self-control. The Japanese Christians live this Fruit to shame us Americans. I do well in love.
God is Good. Thank you for this.

Melanie said...

Great post! So many good points about cleaning out all the garbage.

Unfortunately, I can also relate to the refrigerator vegetable thing. Sigh..... ;)

Have a great weekend!

Andrea said...

I have always loved how the Bible uses and reflects the agricultural realm. Harvests and fruit – grapes, olives, figs, mustard seeds, the rain. Your fruit test is wonderful. Your vegetable crisper is disgusting. PineSol ---- oh yea! Love that smell!

Anonymous said...

This is excellent. I score good too on peace and faithfullness. It's the others that involve actually dealing with people that need pruning for me. I'm going to borrow this test too. Thank you.

Rachel Anne said...

Since I have so many distractions today, I will have to take my coffee "on the run" but I will come back to take the fruit test. I'm worried that some of my fruit looks like what was in your fridge....ewww.

Thanks for the great post.

Erin said...

Hmm, are you sure that was not my veggie crisper you took a picture of?

NPR is on all day in our house. Not sure why since the kids are always talking over it, and then I'm talking over them telling to be quiet so I can hear the radio. Nasty cycle.

Anonymous in TX said...

Love – 6
Joy – 7
Peace - 2
Patience – 2
Kindness – 10
Meekness – 2
Self Control – 5
I've got some work to do. This is good.
I’m taking this to share with my Teen Sunday School Class this Sunday.
- karen

mholgate said...

What an incredible post! Sigh. I am so guilty of letting a thousand distrations get in my way of hearing God's still small voice in my life.

I love your insight. I'll be visiting more often. : )

Patty said...

"God does speak to our hearts on all matters if we'll just listen. Sometimes we just need to clean out the garbage and distractions first. He is always attempting to get us to draw closer to Him."

I love that!! God has been teaching me to seek Him not the calling but Him. I love spending time with Him.

BTW...I love your blog. I am so blessed that you stopped by my blog. I consider you a God Stop. :)


Denise said...

This is so very awesome, bless you for sharing.

forgetfulone said...

I would fail many of those tests, and I'm well-aware of that fact. I don't know what to do!

I really enjoyed your post.

Colleen in CA said...

I never thought I’d be thankful for something on the internet-computer. My daughter reads your blog and has encourage me to see it. So now I am seeing all the wonderful Christian ways the internet is being used. Some of the things on your webpage are helping young women my daughter knows andthey share it. The fruit test was passed around her like one of those magazine quizzes they used to do as teenagers. God is using the internet and webs like yours are a godsend to us Even women who don’t know each other are part of a wonderful fellowship and are leaning on one another and helping one another and teaching. Thank you for that Titus 2 that you are providing to the young women who read this. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Esthermay, I could get a 12 1/2 on Faithfulness, but the others need some work. Thank you for sharing.

We tend to throw away a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables as well. One day I hope to use up all my fresh fruits and veggies instead of throwing them away.

Somehow I feel better just knowing I'm not the only one with this struggle.

Samantha said...

Thank you for this test. My highest score was faithfulness,(9) and my lowest score was self control(1). I will be working on my fruits. I will also be printing this out.

Patricia said...

Ok, now I have another two tasks to add to my list of to-dos this weekend. I didn't do one lick of housework or cooking in the past week. Now, I'm gonna have to rush through the tidying so I can come back to your blog today (Sat.) and do the Fruit Quiz and then take some time this evening to read Rachel Anne's blog so I can be a Company Girl, too.

This is so appropriate because the joke in our house is that we have to have company on the way to get every room tidy. (Not as bad these days as it was when everyone lived at home--we learned to clean the "stash and dash" way: stash away what you can, dash a bit of cleaner on the counters and wipe---hope no one opens a closet door. ;-/

Just love how you inspire me to want to do even the little tasks well. Thanks, Esthermay!!

lori said...

ok...the organizer "needs work" in meekness:) I have to tell you what a GREAT, no...FABULOUS devotional here...I'm one of the last of the Mexicans I see, getting those Christmas cards done...KIDDING!!! Really...kidding! HA, made you laugh!!

Seriously...that was great and it's so GOOD to clean it out...funny thing was my Bible Lesson with my Homeschool Older Girls group was on our Spiritual Gifts....they had such a time trying to figure out which gifts they felt they had and where they needed to work...IT was COOL! (then I come here and see this!!) It really is fantastic...I may be sharing it with some impressionable young ladies:)

Esthermay...awesome words...
now I must go...I have Christmas trees to decorate...HA! kidding again...

I told ya...meekness

Barbara said...

at Christian Women Online!
You deserve the honor.
Happy Day!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Your posts are so full that it's difficult for me to remember what I wanted to say by the time I get to the end of yoru post! You are a force to be reckoned with, for sure. Have I said that already? I agree that our salvation never has been and never will be politically birthed. Thanks for the encouragement to keep praying.

HeartofWisdom said...

LOVE your fruit test! Can I post on my blog with links here?

Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

Yes, Heart of Wisdom.... You may share :-)

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