To bear more fruit (part 1)
Tough Love from Jillian - The Newsletter
This is a good one, guys. So good that I've decided I can only send you half today because it's...really long.
If you bear with me for the next two weeks, I think this message will bless you. And I really want to hear what you think as you're reading along. So please reply back to this email and share it with me. I'm getting really vulnerable in this!
The concept of bearing fruit is so intriguing and I have always been drawn to the story of the fruits of the Spirit mentioned by the apostle Paul in the New Testament.
I still remember when I first committed my life to God (thirteen years ago)...I was a new Christian to the faith. I couldn’t speak well about the stories and the character of God. I just hadn’t spent enough time in the word to be able to talk about it.
In my bible, I highlighted Galatians 5:22-24 about the fruits of the Spirit. I just read them and wished I had more of them. I remember chuckling about not having some at all and trying to choose one I needed to pray for each day.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is Love Joy Peace Forbearance (patience) Kindness Goodness Faithfulness Gentleness Self-control Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." - Galatians 5:22-24
Do you connect to one or two? Do you wish for more of one in your life? Did you say, “I definitely don’t have that one, but that’s ok, I have others?" Or, "I really need to work on that one.”
These fruits come forth when we don’t focus on them individually, but as we focus on our entire being and relationship with God as a whole. When we submit to his will and are obedient to his word, he changes our hearts.
That change is what bears fruit.
I also believe he gifts us with individual personalities that bear certain fruits very naturally, so when paired with the other fruits, we become a beacon of light for others and we bless the world, glorifying his Kingdom along the way.
The bible says all that we touch bears good fruit.
You see, God is the gardener. He prunes every branch that bears fruit, so it will be even more fruitful. The last verse states: those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. This means when we commit our life to Christ (we experience our own crucifixion of the flesh or our selfish worldly desires) we are opened up to what God has for us.
But if we stay stubborn and don’t fully submit, we are leaving blessings on the table.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." - Galatians 2:20
Did you know that God helps us by blessing us with the ability to bear more fruit?
In Matthew 13, The Parable of the sower (I love this one!). Jesus said: "Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop- hundred, sixty, or thirtimes times what it was sown."
And Jesus’ very words in John 12:24, "Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies (another analogy of being crucified), it remains only a single seed (meaning we are only one without God). But if it dies, it produces many seeds (God will bless us just like the kernel if we submit). Anyone who loves their life (choosing worldly desires over God) will lose it (hell), while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life (in heaven)."
I've made my comments on that verse in parentheses. Psalms is another good resource for learning about how we bear fruit. In the very first Psalm we read,
"That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in season And whose leaf does not wither - What they do prospers. " - Psalms 1:3
You see, there is so much in the word about bearing fruit that will bring blessings. I encourage you to seek a relationship with the trinity and allow God to shape your heart.
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