Fruit of the Spirit – a different angle

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Calling all abiding branches!

Here is a simple question:  If you are abiding in Jesus – that is, if you are connected through the Holy Spirit to our Holy Vine, Jesus, are you close to Jesus or distant?

Picturing grapes or tomatoes, it’s easy to see that the fruit-producing branch keeps company with the vine beCAUSE of a live connection.

Another question: What are we branches to look at or fill our minds with while we abide in and stay connected to Jesus’?

That’s easy – where do we find any news of Jesus?  In the Bible.  So the most logical place to find food for our minds is the gospel accounts of Jesus’ actions and words as well as the writings of the prophets and apostles.  The Gospels furnish us with his words of truth, to include promises of blessings and woes.

With those ideas in place, let me relate to you what I saw this week when thinking about the fruit of the spirit.

I started to wonder:  Could it be that fruit emerges the more we look at Jesus’ fruit?  Could it be that the ONLY way for us to bear God-produced fruit on our branch is to LOOK at Jesus’ fruit?  If healing from snakebites came to Israel from gazing at the bronze serpent, might not that principle be at work here?

After all, who do you know who tops Jesus in showing agape love, calm joy, unhurried peace and contentment, fretless patience, genuine kindness not only to inquiring Pharisees but to ‘untouchable’ women and sick mothers-in-law as well, goodness to the undeserving, faithfulness to his heavenly Father (not to mention to us), ‘controlled strength’ – aka meekness and finally…….. supernatural self-control when spat upon, mocked and tortured?

I know I make the Christian life of discipleship more complicated than necessary.  Do you find yourself doing the same? And aren’t we all just plain exhausted by all this doing and trying?

What would it be like JUST to trust our good shepherd when he makes us lie down near him? What if all we ‘had to do’ was to feast on him and be satisfied in him?  How?  by resting in what he has already done.

The more we turn to him for our provision and cling to him, the more natural will be the harvest in our lives.

I think we often TRY to produce the fruit ourselves.  But that is not what we see in nature?  After all, what tomato branches resolve to put forth tasty Heirlooms for the picking?

Nature doesn’t work that way nor does Jesus call us to this alien way.  I think he says something like, ‘Don’t work for me, just fill up on me.  Look to me and be satisfied in what I have already done for you and others and what I have taught awaits you.

It is THAT contentment which makes for ideal fruit-bearing in us, the branches.

And when we DO accept his way, the pay off is categorically better: A harvest for others (patience, self-control, and kindness) and plenty of produce for us (joy and peace and feeling God’s approval).

 

 

How many hairs do I have on my head?

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Hairs are numbered

Big deal – so God knows how many hairs I have.  I’ve never understood why Jesus even bothered to say that?

But this week, all of a sudden, Jesus’ words as recorded by Luke stopped me cold.  I realized that I myself don’t know THAT fact about my hair.  What else don’t I know about myself? And what kind of God must our creator be to have that kind of detailed knowledge?  And if he is always aware of the minutia of my life, then he must be intimate with everything else about me, to include the really big stuff.

Suddenly it made sense that God cares enough to keep up with everything about me.  Don’t I care about what I fashion? Don’t I feel a sense of pride and affection and a close bond with my grown sons?  And I didn’t create them, I ‘merely’ raised and loved and taught them.

I like this now, that my heavenly Father knows even the tiniest FACT about me before I ever notice.  That feels like love. And in the preceding verse (Luke 12:6) he even says that I’m way more important than sparrows. And the level of care he shows to these common birds is phenomenal.  Not a single one is “epi-lanth-a-no-mai” – that is forgotten, neglected or uncared for.  If that is how our heavenly Father takes care of the animal kingdom, then how much more valuable am I or are you?

Hmm….so how should I treat my neighbor, whom this same God also created?

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