Have you ever tried to find sweet-tasting fresh fruit or vegetables before the time of harvest? I was thinking about this today as I threw away yet another watermelon I had just purchased at the local market.

At this time of year, it is difficult to find sweet-tasting fruit. It is also challenging to find good tasting vegetables. Consequently, it’s about this time every year that I begin to long for fresh fruit and veggies…fresh from the garden and vines.

As I thought about this today, several things came to mind.

First, there is no way to tell if the fruit is good by just looking at it. Unfortunately, you must buy it before you can cut into it. This year alone I have thrown away a great deal of fruit because it looked good to the eye. However, when I cut into it, it was horrible and bitter, not ready to harvest at all.

Amid this deep thought process about fruit, God began to speak to me.

You see, we also have a winter season in our spiritual lives. A season where it appears everything is dead. Nothing is growing at all. There is no good fruit to be found. It is a cold and dreary season. A challenging season.

What does our fruit look like during these seasons? What does it taste like during our winter seasons? Is it bitter?

This can happen if we allow the cold and disappointment of a winter season to affect our heart. How will you know if your fruit is bitter? You will know it by the words of bitterness or negativity that come out of your mouth. That’s what the Bible teaches us.

It is in the winter season that we discover the depth of what we really believe. It is in the winter seasons that we find what is really on the inside of us.

It’s not in the harvest seasons when we are experiencing God answer prayer after prayer that our fruit is most evident. It is in the season where it feels like the heavens are brass. The seasons where it feels that God is not listening. That He is nowhere to be found. That is when our true fruit shines forth. That is when what we really believe in our heart becomes evident.  That is when we truly see what is on the inside of us.

I have watched different people go through different winter seasons. Some of them come through with a little hurt, a little disappointment but they continue to seek God and believe that He is a good, good Father. These believers, after patiently enduring, receive the promise.

Others become bitter, negative and cold from the long winter season. They have nothing good to say. All they do is question God and complain. They leave that season with great disappointment and bitterness. If that bitterness takes root, it will hinder them from ever receiving their promise. There will be no good fruit.

I heard a man make a statement today that pierced my heart. He said, “when you begin to question God about why this hasn’t happened yet, it reveals the unbelief in your heart.”  Ouch!

We all go through difficult seasons, but we do not have to stay in them.  We do not have to allow them to break us or make us bitter. God allows us to go through wilderness times to reveal what is in our hearts. He already knows what is in our heart. It is us who need to know the true condition of our heart.

Deuteronomy 8:2 says, And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

The Message Bible says it like this: Remember every road that God led you on for those forty years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that he would know what you were made of, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

I don’t know about you, but I have felt pushed to my limits one time or two in my life. However, God has brought me through.  Today, as hard as those winter seasons were, I trust Him more than ever. Why? Because through it all, I clung to Him and His Word and the truth that He is a good, good Father.

The Bible says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Let’s look at this scripture from Galatians 5:22-23 in the Passion Translation.

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all various expressions. This love is revealed through: Joy that overflows. Peace that subdues. Patience that endures. Kindness on display. A life full of virtue. Faith that prevails. Gentleness of heart and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.

I love that! In the winter seasons of our life, may we draw from this scripture and allow our fruit to be continually sweet and satisfying. May we walk out of that winter season with joy in our heart and a new-found trust in a loving Father. Finally, may our winter fruit be well pleasing to the Lord. Sweet and satisfying to our God. And limitless, just as the Word of God says!

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