“Can You Taste the Difference?” New Era, June 2014, 22
Imagine that your favorite grocery store set up a blindfolded taste test to find out how many fruits someone can detect through taste and smell alone. How do you think you’d do?
Now imagine if your first bite were a strawberry. Could you identify it? What about an apple or a watermelon? Odds are, you’d get them right every time. Now pretend your next bite were a lemon wedge. You’d be able to name that one too, but you’d also spend the next few minutes getting over the sour flavor!
When it comes to fruits at the store, we recognize easily which ones we like and which ones we want to avoid biting into. Similarly, we can learn to recognize and seek after the fruits of the Spirit and avoid situations or things that drive the fruits of the Spirit away.
The fruits of the Spirit are emotions or character traits we can detect as clearly as the flavor of a strawberry. The Apostle Paul listed them as follows: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (see Galatians 5:22–23).
As an example, how do you feel when you’re doing a service project? Happy? Peaceful? Those are fruits of the Spirit. Through those fruits, the Holy Ghost is confirming that what you’re doing is right.
On the other hand, how do you feel when you lie or when you argue and become angry? Anger and contention are not fruits of the Spirit. The Savior taught, “He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil” (3 Nephi 11:29).
Learning to recognize fruits of the Spirit can help us navigate daily life. For instance, when listening to a new song on the radio, you can ask: “Am I feeling fruits of the Spirit?” Does the song help you experience love, joy, peace, or goodness? Or, instead, does the song make you uncomfortable and nervous? If it leaves you feeling uncomfortable, turn it off.
You’re never going to mistake a lemon for a strawberry in a taste test. In the same way, you can learn to identify with confidence the fruits of the Spirit and then shape your thoughts and actions to seek after those fruits.
President Thomas S. Monson has taught: “Happiness comes from living the way the Lord wants you to live and from service to God and others” (“Preparation Brings Blessings,” Ensign, May 2010, 67).
Seeking the fruits of the Spirit is a sweet way to live.