The Fruit and The Vine
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
Go get yourself a sheet of paper and a writing instrument. Take a look today’s verse and write down the fruits of the Spirit, individually, line by line. Got it? Now next to the three that you feel you’re good with write an OK next to it. Now next to the three that you know you struggle with strike with an “X” next to it. Got it? Good. Now ask yourself, “What of the remaining three?” When I did this little self-inspection of the fruit in my life my remaining three were love, joy and gentleness. I found out, through sound Godly consul, that these are the three where the adversary gets his foothold in me. When you kill my joy, it’s becomes hard to love and it’s difficult to be gentle. Wow…
What’s even sadder is in Christendom we have “Fruit Inspectors”. Those people who have taken it upon themselves to examine you in all nine areas and decide whether you measure up to them all. Now I don’t know how you feel about them (maybe you’re one of them) but I think they need to go get themselves a better hobby, perhaps something like cesspool digging. Ya know where critical thinking can find its place and is crucial in the operation of a shovel. (oops, did I step on your toes?) Anyway, unless you’ve chosen these folks to “inspect” you from time to time chances are the results they come up with are unkind and can prune your branches beyond what needs to be done. So beware of them!!
And now that I’ve mentioned branches it is important to note here that fruit needs branches to live on. So with this in mind it appears that that we need to tie fruit of the Spirit to the branches of Spiritual growth. The two just gotta go hand in hand. Sometimes I wonder if the body of Christ really has a concept of this as I am just putting the two together in my walk. As I have grown in my walk I have found that I had many branches going on, maybe with lots of leaves but when I did the fruit self-examination I scared myself somewhat. Ok I got three that were confirmed by another brother who came alongside me with the exam but not to be good with three of them and to not even consider the other three was enough for me to be concerned about my relationship with Jesus.
So with all that in the forefront of my thinking a man who I call “Paul” (his real name is James Getz) challenged me to do a word search on all nine fruits of the Spirit and to read this book by Bruce Wilkinson titled “Secrets of The Vine”. So I accepted this challenge and went through some great lengths to get this 4”x6” 120 page book in my hands. (Givin’ Brother John Weaver in Tennessee props for his hunt) My wife read it first and it her three days to read…it took me three weeks. The thing I’ve gotten from the book is that fruit cannot happen unless you are ABIDING. It has made me look at the 15th chapter of John’s Gospel much differently.
It’s an amazing thing to me that the Romans Road I was traveling on would lead to a vineyard. I would say this where the rubber meets the road but that really isn’t applicable for this. It’s more of a brace for impact thing because the Husbandman has a saw and pruning shears…this is gonna hurt. But this isn’t about receiving discipline for wrong doing, OH NO, it’s about cutting out those things that I never really needed anyway and am just holding on to…just because! My hope is that over the time it takes to do this word search, maybe “fruit inspection” is a better term, I can better understand the teachings of Jesus Christ and their proper application. After all, I’ve been told the process of growth doesn’t stop until you’re on the other side of glory, Amen? – Chris Hughes is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and is a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger
Think About This: “Too many Christians I’ve met are standing in the shadows of that vineyard. Like the disciples, they have discovered that following Jesus has turned out far differently than expected. They feel confused and disillusioned—maybe even betrayed by God. Do you? If so, listen carefully—I believe that a major reason for your spiritual crisis may be that you have not heard and understood Jesus’ words in the vineyard.”—Bruce Wilkinson
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT