Witness Him Now
On the way to the dump ground yesterday, I kept hearing the same thing over and over in my mind: "It is never about circumstances, it is always about fruit." Over and over. "It is never about circumstances, it is always about fruit." So I sat and meditated on what God was saying to me. I came to the conclusion that everything that happens to us is irrelevant. What?!? I think it is true. God is Sovereign. He knows every detail of our life from the beginning to the end. Before the world was formed, He knew us, and He called us by name, and He said, "You are mine." Before we were ever born, He saw every detail of our life played out, and He delighted in it. But you say, "You don't know the details of my life. You don't know what I have done, and you don't know what I have done to others." And you are right. I don't. But God does, and He loves you desperately. He knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper and not to harm. Did you hear that? Plans to prosper and not to harm. His plans are good plans, plans to give us hope and a future. So that brings me back to "It is never about circumstances, it is always about fruit!"
According to God's word, the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. If we look at our lives, we can see if we are bearing fruit. Is there love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness and faithfulness and self-control in us? If we see even a few of these attributes inside of us, we can say that we do bear fruit. Sometimes the fruit is small and withered, but it is still there, so I want to go to scripture to find out what God is going to do for those of us who are bearing fruit.
John 15 says: "I am the true grapevine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of Mine that doesn't produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more fruit." OK. If we have accepted Jesus into our heart as our LORD and Savior, we are in the vine - Jesus is that vine. So God, the Gardener, is watching over His grapevine. He wants one thing - FRUIT - lots of big, luscious fruit. He will go to great lengths to make sure that we bear fruit, but how does He do that? He goes on to say, "You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you." When we HEAR God's Word and apply it to our lives, the Word prunes and purifies us. That's cool, isn't it! When we become obedient to do what God is asking us to do, we BEGIN to bear fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. "Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned."
Those who refuse to HEAR and OBEY God's Word do not produce fruit. According to God's Word, they can't. We can only bear fruit if we are IN the vine. If we love Him, we OBEY Him, and it is in our obedience that we find: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. So those who refuse to obey God are cut off and thrown in a pile to be burned. They will not make it into the Kingdom of Heaven, but look at what happens when we remain in the vine. "But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to My Father."
Oh my goodness! When we remain in Jesus, and His Words remain in us, we produce LOTS OF FRUIT! Our lives are filled with love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and gentleness and faithfulness and self-control. When we REACT like this, God gets great glory! Wow! Fruit is what God is after because He gets glory, AND He gets to answer our prayers! God gets to show off through us! Now this is a cool gig. We get PEACE and JOY and LOVE, and God gets GLORY! No wonder He is so concerned about fruit. This is a win, win situation here. So, I don't know about you, but I want to bear MUCH fruit.
"I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father's commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that you will be FILLED WITH MY JOY. Yes, your joy will overflow! Wow! Filled with the joy that Jesus had - overflowing joy! I don't know about you, but doesn't this seem like what we all want? It is God's promise to us when we bear fruit, and all we have to do to bear fruit is to do what God asks us to do.
"This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you." The greatest commandment, the commandment that will bring us to a place where we bear much fruit and bring God much glory is when we love one another. That means love everybody. Circumstances do not matter. If we are to love like Jesus loved, we too will say, "Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing." It does not matter what they have done. When we respond to anything that comes against us with: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, we are responding in love, and that brings God much glory. But many times our emotions (spirits) get in the way of us bearing fruit. Bitterness, anger, resentment, being offended, self-pity, self-condemnation, rejection, abandonment, hate, lust, pride, selfish ambition, bitter envy, fear, worry, wanting to control, or a whole host of other spirits that attack. Their sole purpose is to kill, to steal, and to destroy us. When they are in our heart, they move us. They make us do things we don't want to do. The only way to get them out is to come heart-wide-open to a holy God and say, "I am guilty, God. Will You forgive me?" And he does. These spirits leave and peace enters. FRUIT, large fruit begins to form, and our heart responds with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, even in the hardest situations. We get JOY, and God gets GLORY!
"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are My friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in His slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything that the Father told Me." Did you hear that? We will lay down our lives for our friends. We will die to self. We will die to our agenda. We will consider others as more important than ourselves. We will grant them grace and mercy, and we will get grace and mercy in return - maybe not from them, but God sees and hears and responds to those who love Him, and He confides in us. We are His friends.
Jesus goes on to say, "You didn't choose Me, I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for using My name. This is My command: Love each other." God chose us and appointed us to go and produce everlasting fruit! WHY? He wants to give us whatever we ask for. He wants to be able to answer our prayers. He loves us so much, and He loves the world so much, too. He wants to move mountains, but He has to wait for us to ask. LOVE produces large fruit, and when we produce fruit, God can trust us to ask for the same things that He wants to give. We then become partners. Prayer moves the hand of God, so God is getting us ready to pray. He is about to show Himself strong, and we will be His witnesses. We will see our God fight once again for His people.
"A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart." (Luke 6:43-45) . We can know what is in a person's heart by what they say. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit. Did you see that? Begin to look at fruit. Start in your on life and then look at others. If you see fruit, you know that God is doing something. A lot of times, that person's life is hard. That is because God is pruning. We are in the pruning season. It doesn't feel good, but it is glorious. The season we are in now will set us up to bear large fruit, fruit so big that it takes two people to carry it. THEN, God is going to pour out a spirit of grace and prayer, and we will see God move in ways we cannot imagine. But for right now just remember, it is never about the circumstances, it is always about the fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. These are the attributes of our loving God, and He wants His children to look just like He looks, so fix your eyes on Jesus, guard your heart, and give thanks. God is always up to something good.
Blessings, my friends. May the God of peace, Himself, sanctify you wholly, and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of the LORD Jesus Christ. For He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it!
The scripture says, "May you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers."