Jesus Is A Good Gardener
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
God wants us to produce “good fruit” with our lives. How do we do this? By allowing Jesus to live through us! How do we allow Jesus to live through us? We begin making choices He approves of and we stop making choices He doesn’t approve of, based on His character. And you might ask, “But Matt, why can’t I just believe and do what I want, since I’m already saved?”
To be honest with you–and believe it or not–as a Christian, you actually want what God wants! That might sound crazy but you do! (See 1 Corinthians 2:16). But besides having the same desires as God–because He indwells us–the main reason why we start to do anything for Him, or stop doing certain things is this: BECAUSE WE LOVE HIM.
Everything we do as children of God should be in the drop-down menu of “Our love for Him.” And if you think about it, every strong relationship is built on both parties starting (or stopping) an action because of their deep love for the other individual. Same with us and God. Jesus showed His love for us at the Cross, and now we must have action in our love for Him as well.
Real love for others is backed up by action. Without action, love is paper-thin and conditional, it is fair-weather at best. In any relationship, without action and sacrifice, eventually one of the individuals will begin to take severe advantage of the other.
Jesus doesn’t want this. He wants a strong union with you! That’s why He sacrificed His own life and went through the pain and discomfort of crucifixion! He backed up His love for you with action!
The good news is, Jesus never gives up on you (see 2 Timothy 2:13, Hebrews 7:25). His commitment to you is based on a promise between Him and the Father (see Hebrews 6). It’s us who gives up on Him, through our actions. Our unloving actions toward God doesn’t un-save us, but instead, it causes turmoil in our souls. An inner-conflict happens because we are going against the grain of our true identity (see Ephesians 4:30).
I was the worst person I knew when it came to taking advantage of God’s love and kindness. It wasn’t until I realized my relationship with Him wouldn’t flourish until I started to actually live out my heaven-ready self through my actions. Paul tells the Galatians about this truth:
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
So when we finally begin to show Jesus that we love Him through our actions, we start to “grow good fruit.” Paul calls this the “fruit of the Spirit” (see Galatians 5:22,23). And what does fruit do?…Nothing. It just grows, easily and organically, never forcing itself to grow. Jesus is the vine we are connected to–we are simply the branches (see John 15:5). Branches don’t do anything on their own, they get all of their sustenance from the vine to grow fruit. When we attempt to do things on our own, apart from Him, we can grow no good fruit.
How do we know if we are trying to grow fruit on our own? When we try to force spiritual fruit growth! When we fall into the trap of religious works or “works of the flesh!” When we attempt to do God’s job, when we try to change people, and when we ignore our feelings! You’ll recognize this when you find yourself frustrated, trying to make things happen in which you have no power to make happen. The devil then gets you atrociously upset from that point on. God wants you to have peace! He wants you grow organic spiritual fruit! Peace is a piece of this fruit! (For a full list of spiritual fruit, see Galatians 5:22,23).
Here is a parable Jesus told about how God is inspecting the fruit in our lives, checking to see if anything is growing, and just how very important it is to spread the gospel for Him.
As you read this, keep in mind we don’t do anything to earn God’s approval or to be saved; being saved is a free gift through your faith and acceptance of Jesus’ forgiveness. So instead of worrying about that, we should have a daily goal of doing good things on earth and spreading the gospel while resting in God’s grace. Why? Because we love our Creator, others, and ourselves!
In this parable, notice that Jesus is pleading our case, and that He is the one fertilizing our soil, therefore trying to help us grow spiritual fruit! He is pleading with the Father to give us more time to change our lives into being spiritually fruitful!
“A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down’” (Luke 13:6-9).
So today, my friends, please ask Jesus to teach you how to grow good fruit–and He will! You do this by simply living out who you are on the inside! Don’t deny yourself any longer! Be the child of God whom Jesus has made you to be! Grow some fruit! God loves you and wants your life to be beautiful and spiritually fruitful through Him! So relax, be yourself, and blossom.
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, I want to thank you for another day alive on planet earth. So many people didn’t get this opportunity, so thank you! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who really like the idea of growing good fruit, but haven’t yet, touch their hearts on a deep level today. Help them to begin living out the desires they have to change their behavior for you! Jesus, begin to cultivate their souls so they can grow so much fruit, people are tripping over it! We love you! Amen!
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