By their Fruits
The Word says "Therefore by their fruit you will recognize them" Matthew 7:20
--I don't know if you've ever met someone, and after talking to them for a few minutes, immediately felt the presence of the spirit of God. Sometimes it's just an intuition, and sometimes it may be that overwhelming since of joy or peace that makes you want to just be with this person and learn more from them. Maybe a person spoke a word to you, that was due in the right time, and given in the right way, and you were blessed and inspired. And you saw Jesus' working in their life. And it was amazing, inspiring, in fact you wanted that for yourself..
And it was beautiful-- this is a great way to live out a testimony-
You recognized them right, you recognized that Christian? And they pointed you to God.
But maybe the day after, you found yourself wondering. "Am I like that?" "Will anyone recognize me?"
"Am I fruitful too?"
Do people think I act like Jesus?
I think we all have that expectation that Christian's should be good, pure, kind, giving, compassionate, gentle, honest, thankful. Christian's should be growing in their fruits as they strive for perfection in knowing Jesus more...
And yet so often,I think maybe we fall because we are so busy comparing our fruits to others.
We become more obsessed about the fruit demonstration and tasting then making sure our fruits are attached to the vine.
I think there's nothing wrong with striving harder and wanting to do better. I think we should consistently want to grow closer to God. And yet at the same time I think we have to realize we're in very dangerous territory when we want other people to be watching when we produce that fruit.. when we're seeking self-glorification for it.
I believe so often we're not fruitful, we're not the light, because we're not connected. We don't know Him even though we know all about Him.
We're trying hard but our efforts make us weary because we're trying to bear fruit on our own, and we wonder at the end of our days why that other Christian seems to have all the joy and peace while we are struggling?
Yet instead of disciplining us for our lack of fruit production, Jesus calls us to come and abide in Him.
Jesus offers us grace, for our efforts we have made on our own. He calls us to Him like a child who forgot that he needed his dad to help him find the way. God reminds us that our sin and brokenness reveals a deeper need for a Savior.
God reminds us that no matter how fruitful-- or fruitless-- we are feeling, that He is the vine and the root of the tree. That He is the one who will bear the fruit in us. That we must focus on Him and putting ourselves in an environment where we can receive his nourishment instead of the world's and that's how we will be fruitful once again.
I don't know about you- but I want to produce fruit for Jesus. But somedays as life goes by, I feel drained by the world and the work and I begin to get discouraged. Maybe I'm not growing in my faith at all. Maybe I've only taken 3 steps forward, and it seems I've fallen 5 steps backwards. And Satan begins to fill my heart with doubt and fear. He whispers "You're not good enough." "Your not producing the right fruit." "Your patience is far too short."
And Satan loves to make me feel guilty, for when I feel guilty, I focus on me and my sins instead of the Master Gardener. While Jesus may notice my lack of fruit production, He doesn't want me to feel ashamed. He has dedicated my life for Him for a reason and a purpose, and He reminds me "in good time I will produce good fruit here."
So I encourage you to not get discouraged with your feelings, or how you think your walk with God is going, but to continue pushing, running, fighting for your relationship with God. And He will continue growing, working, pruning, using, and re-creating you into something more beautiful to demonstrate His fruits in His timing.