Sunday, 18 January 2015

Are You Fruitful?


Luke 13 v 7-9: "Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it; and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down."

What kind of a fig tree are you? Does our Lord Jesus Christ know He can eat His fill from your spiritual tree or has He looked in vain to see something growing there at all?

We are all in the process of being cultivated by Jesus. He prunes us to get rid of the deadwood of unproductive areas of our lives; sprays our leaves to prevent bugs spoiling our fruit; waters and fertilizes our roots to bring forth an abundant crop; and tended very carefully as only He can, to prevent diseases. 

If after all His care there is a lack of growth and very little to show for it, Jesus will want to know why.  Through the Word or other Christians you will notice that the Holy Spirit is testing to see whether the sap is flowing freely through the branches.

If there is a spiritual blockage He will find it. You may notice that your prayers are not being answered. That nagging pain has not been healed; that relationship has not improved; those finances didn't get blessed - these are symptoms of blockage.

People react in different ways to disappointment. It either becomes a stepping stone to improvement or a stumbling stone towards backsliding. So evaluate your position and realise the God's discipline is always for your good and with the ultimate aim of making you abundantly fruitful.

When you respond correctly the gardener will dig around your roots and apply fertilizer. Digging around your roots is when a close Christian starts asking personal questions and the fertilizer is when he/she is praying for you.

When you react with negativity, you shun those who are trying to help. Disobedience ties God's hands. When you reject His help over and over and refuse to make the changes to become more like Jesus, the gardener one day gives up on this obstinate fig tree and sadly allows it to wither.

What fruit does Jesus expect to find?  The fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5 v 22-23 is love, joy, peace, kindness, faith, goodness, self-control, patience and meekness. When these fruit appear and continue to grow the next fruit to grow is your ability to reach people with the gospel. Whether you reach them yourself or enable others to do so, all counts towards fruitfulness.

If you are independent, proud, self-reliant and follow your own self-will and selfishness, your fruit tree will produce hard, green inedible fruit. Your times of spiritual refreshing will be shorter and further apart until you realise that you have deceived yourself and the reality of the presence of God has disappeared.

You have self-will so you can choose to make the changes. You can allow your tree to wither and die, knowing that it will one day be thrown into the fire, or you can repent of your errors and submit to the perfect will of God for your life with His Heavenly rewards. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father we want to be abundantly fruitful for Your Kingdom so that it may be filled with converted sinners who will in turn become fruitful. May they turn away from worldly voices to follow Your voice of truth and love. We praise You Father for your infinite patience with us. In Jesus' name. Amen.