Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's A Fruit Thing

Oh the things God has been having to teach and remind me of lately. Some things I will look back on and shake my head at my stupidity. What else is knew?! But the other morning I opened the Word and was reminded of several things.
1. It had been so long since I had opened the Bible and just read. It had been TOO long. I felt guilty, ashamed, and unworthy to sit and read the words of Life. I can tell by my recent mistakes that I have not been daily seeking Him in His word. Amazing how I can tell in my daily walk when I am not taking time to be at His feet.....
2. If it weren't for the grace of God teaching me every day I'd be in a much bigger mess than I felt when I opened His Word.
3. I was reminded hugely of "a fruity development" from John. Please bear with me as I try to put together some jumbled thoughts.
John 15:1-8 reads:
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

There were several things here that struck me.

1. If I'm not bearing fruit God will cut me off
He's not being cruel or heartless. But think about it....if He allowed me to remain a dead branch on His vine (Jesus), what would I be telling the rest of the world about following Him? That it is ok to call myself part of HIm and yet be dead? If I am not fruitful, I am of no use to the Gardner. I serve no purpose except to hang dead and become an eyesore on the vine.
2. God prunes me so I will bear MORE fruit
I don't like this process. It's a painful reminder of how wicked I can be and how much He must cut away at my sin to make me more beautiful in Him. Often I look at the Lord's chastening and pruning and all I can see is the pain of the moment. God's pruning HURTS! But I have to stop and remind myself that "FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES" (Hebrews 12:6) The pruning of the Lord hurts, yes, but it is a sign I am HIS and He has a great plan for me. If not, He wouldn't waste the time to prune out the sin.
3. I can't bear fruit of myself
Reread verse 4: "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
Oh snap. Think there could be a problem here? Yup. This describes my life the past few weeks. I've been trying to bear "good" fruit.....fruit of ANY kind.....and nothing seemed to be good. I would bear a little fruit and then in the very next breath it was gone and I felt dead all over again. The problem? I was trying to bear my own fruit instead of bearing it through the only way I could....the Jesus. The promise is given, "If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit..." There it is, in black and white. I can't bear fruit unless I am in Him daily.
4. The fruit I am to bear:
Ok, so if I'm supposed to be bearing fruit, what fruit is that supposed to be? hehe don't you just love the Word of God? He gave us the answer to that!
"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)
5. The fruit will come naturally
So how do I bear this fruit? I can just see me with eyes closed, face red, trying to "pop" some fruit out like a constipated baby making a diaper. I can push till I cry but nothing will come out. This fruit cannot be conjured up. It comes as a natural bi-product of time spent on the Vine. If I remain in Him, the fruit will come naturally as I know Him better and seek to be more like Him. I won't have to push or try....It will come because HE is those things.
6. Ask what I wish?!
How can I really ask what I wish and it be granted? (verse 7). Oh the answer amazes me....because the more connected to the Vine that I am, the more my desires are when I pray His desires He will grant them. WOW! I mean, I have known this forever, but applying it continually amazes me. Being so in tune with my Jesus that what I pray is His will.....then He can grant it with no questions asked.
I want to bear that fruit....I HAVE to be in the Vine. I admit I haven't been faithful as I should, but by the grace of God I will be. Indeed I want this said of me, "You are my friends, if you do what I command" (John 15:14).
I will post again soon =)
Because He lives,

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