You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. -Matthew 7:16-18
A co-worker (and fellow Christ follower) had this posted on his door: Go out on a limb… That’s where the fruit is!
How are you living? By that, I don’t mean to ask if things are smooth sailing or if the waters are choppy. God keeps teaching me that how I live is a separate matter from how the waters are around me…but that how I live can make even the most placid waters unpleasant, or make the choppiest waters completely bearable.
We can live in a peaceful, relatively drama-free environment, but if we’re roiling in our souls, we can suffer endlessly within. Or, we can let God carry us through the worst, most turbulent times, but our souls are at peace, only possible through Him.
God keeps reminding me that to live for Him, to bear fruit for Him, is only possible through Him. Like picturing yourself as a tree rooted in Christ, your outstretched and uplifted arms are the branches that let His love and grace and strength and perseverance flow through them, with the fruit that comes forth from a surrendered life. That fruit is meant to bless others, but as soon as we focus back on ourselves or the situation, that fruit can shrivel and rot.
I can honestly say that I fluctuate, but then try to confess and repent as quickly as possible so I can drop that bad fruit of self focus, which affects others as well, and get back to Him flowing through me to the world. When we go out on a limb and love others anyway as Christ loved us, or forgive anyway, or be graceful and strong anyway, we let God shine through, and His loving fruit is borne.
As believers firmly rooted in Christ, we can withstand the worst of storms and bear fruit anyway…or fall into the trap of the godless and look within with self-pity, and then the storm is inside us.
Lord, please forgive us when we uproot ourselves and stop the flow of your blessings. We come back to you in repentance, and thanks and praise. Please continue to show us the way to let you live through us, bearing fruit for your glory. In your Son’s holy and powerful name we pray. Amen.