Nothing Like Fresh Fruit
Which of these looks like me today?
John 15-16 reminded me if I remain in Jesus, God will produce abundant fruit in me, and it will show up as peace and joy in my life! In Him, I will thrive, grow, and be radiant! I know I can't produce any fruit without being attached to the Vine, and without staying tightly connected to Him, I will wither, shrivel, and rot away.
What is this mysterious product that comes from a connection to the vine? Paul writes about the singular fruit of the Spirit as being a compilation of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It’s a package deal. God chose us to produce this fruit. We are supposed to stand out from the crowd, drawing people to this wonderful source. This is certainly the opposite of worry and fear in my heart. Is all the anxiety and depression in our society of today caused by a lack of connection to Jesus, the Son, causing the withering of our fruit?
How is my harvest? Am I radiant, full of joy, peace, and contentment? Am I filled with worry and complaints? What do I do when I see that my produce is puny, or bruised and rotting? Should I look for someone to blame because I’m not producing good fruit? Should I try harder? That makes me think of a piece of hanging fruit striving to grow bigger or be sweeter, but just becoming frustrated or angry with itself. Maybe I need some pruning by the vine dresser, better soil to grow in, or additional water and sunshine! How do I make a change?
Jesus says the work he gives us to do is to believe in Him, and to remain in Him. Do I? John the Baptist said, "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance." And Jesus' admonition at the beginning and end of his ministry was, "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." To repent means to turn around, go a different way. Am I going my own way, arguing in my mind, wanting to get even, or defending what I think is right? Or am I believing Jesus, as I read and reflect on the Word, following Him, trusting Him, and waiting on Him to act in my life and the lives of those I love, and thanking Him in advance? He is not wringing His hands. He knows. He hears my prayers. I need to know Him better. I need a Sabbath; I need to rest. In Him.
Jesus wants me to have a life of abundance, that is, a life full of joy! Jesus said, "I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit," and we “will know them by their fruit.” God is the source, the vine, the producer of this fruit basket of abundant life, and it’s comforting to know that is what He wants for my life! Isn't that what I want, as well? If I don’t want to dry up and wither, I can thrive by staying connected to the marvelous source of LIFE!
References: John 15:8, 1 Cor. 14:17, John 15:4-5, John 15:6, Galatians 5:22, John 6:29, John 15:4, John 15:16, Matthew 4:17, Luke 24:47, John 10:10, John 15:11, John 15:16, Matthew 7:20