I was a very immature sixteen-year-old.
“I chose you …to bear fruit…that should remain.” (John 15:16)
“Kandy, you are to evangelize the world.”
I mean after all, that is what my church taught me “fruit” meant.
If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you have probably wandered down this same path. God says something and you use your own frame of reference to interpret what He really meant. (Am I right?)
It would be years (and I mean lots of them) before I realized that when He said fruit, He meant just that:
The Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
God always says exactly what He means.
On the other hand, we are brilliant at varying the message.
For instance, when we Christians interact on social networks, how often do we practice a greater boldness toward shifting someone’s point of view than for performing the gentle virtues of joy, patience and self-control?
I’m disturbed by the tit for tat attacks that we “Christians” proclaim in the Name of the Gospel. Rather than exemplifying our Master, who “did not revile in return…and uttered no threats” (1 Peter 2:23), we have plenty to say about governmental or religious points of conflict. Unfortunately, these slide into “outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions and factions” more often than kindness, goodness and gentleness. And (ahem) notice which camp that righteous indignation falls into (Galatians 5:19-20). (It’s not the good one; I can tell you that).
Our Father is more concerned that we respond to our family member with kindness, than fight for our rights at work. He is more satisfied when we have patience with our dementia-ridden friend than when we skillfully use apologetics in the airport. We please Him more when we push away from that slice of chocolate obsession cake than when we repost a critical political jab.
Fruit-bearing is far more straightforward than we make it.
In essence, it’s merely saying “Yes” moment by moment to the urges of the Spirit.
Yet, in that basic simplicity it is also very, very hard.
For spiritual fruit-bearing is also saying “No” to what you may really, really want.
The great thing about the call of God is that He only holds us responsible for the obedience of the moment. We don’t have to worry about whether or not we’ll be “enough” for tomorrow’s challenges. He’s only concerned with our lives as they are right now.
I think that I can submit to Him right now.
What about you?