Lesson 9 -- second quarter 1996
April 28, 1996
by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications
What kind of fruit should we bear?
Who gets to enjoy the fruit?
Why do some people stop bearing fruit?
Apple trees bear apples. Peanut plants produce peanuts. Raspberry canes put forth raspberries. Bush beans grow beans. That's the law (Genesis 1:11). Therefore, we know certain plants will always produce certain types of fruit. What about us Christians?
Christians are born of the Spirit and bear His spiritual genetic code. This means we should have the same traits developing in us that already exist in perfection in Him. Our values, perspectives and character should be like His . . . because like produces like. Galatians 5:22,23 open our eyes to some specifics: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
Fruit means reproduction. A corn stalk produces several ears of corn loaded with hundreds of kernels. Each kernel has the potential to produce another corn stalk. Like produces like. So we as Christians must contribute our part to the production of more Christians.
I am too haphazard about fruit production in my life. I rarely consider that I ought to be producing other Christians. I rarely consciously strive for love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. In the context of today's lesson, this ought to be an alarming condition!
We picked lots of cherries last summer. Gorgeous-looking, delicious-tasting cherries. The husbandman of those cherry trees was also obviously well-pleased with the quality of the fruit. If those trees had been endowed with feelings, they certainly would have had cause for satisfaction as well. We enjoyed the fruit, the farmer enjoyed the fruit, the trees "enjoyed" the fruit.
When I see spiritual fruit in my life, I am pleased. I believe that as God strolls through the garden of His making, He is happy to enjoy the fruits of His labors in my life. And other humans who harvest the benefits of my fruitfulness are likewise blessed.
So, what kind of fruit do you have today, ripe and ready for picking? God wants to savor the sight and flavor of your fruit. Is there any there for Him? Furthermore, those around you need your fruit! Can they readily harvest it? Remember, it has to be fresh; this kind of fruit doesn't can, freeze or dehydrate well at all!
You have met them--individuals who were once productive Christians. Now they don't produce good fruit. What happened?
You have likely experienced a slack in personal fruit production. Maybe self-control and self-discipline no longer emanate from your life. Or perhaps the patience and peace have dropped off your branches. Why?
Meditate on some of the hindrances to Christian fruitfulness: independence and disobedience (John 15:4,5), untended growing environment (Matthew 13:3-8), unwillingness to die to self (John 12:24), inadequate and improper feeding (Psalm 1:1-3) and a lack of trust in God and reliance on Him (Jeremiah 17:7,8).
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