In our lives, we will face hardships, troubles, and persecution (John 16:33). And, we can take comfort in the fact that our situations do not go unnoticed by God. Yet, whether we are currently in a valley season, a mountaintop season, or climbing up or down the mountain, we are called to a godly life full of spiritual fruitfulness, through Christ Jesus.
Simply put, each of us are called to a walk of faith, wherein we productively perform the good works that God has called us to, while living a life that demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit (love, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, self-control, joy, faithfulness and gentleness), irrespective of our personal situations.
At the very least, most of us will experience seasons of productivity. Hopefully, we will experience glorious seasons where we have eyes fixed on Christ, and His supernatural work is plainly evident in and through our lives. And unfortunately, we may also experience seasons where our lives do not demonstrate the evidence of a walk in and with Christ.
There are times where I have been guilty of this kind of walk. Seasons when distractions or discouragement have successfully turned my eyes from my Savior, and onto myself. During these seasons, a close examination of my fruit would show that a lack of sincerity in my commitment to God, and within my love toward others have crept into my worship, my words and my walk.
Disingenuity in the hearts of believers are distinguished by walks that do not produce lasting fruit.
Perhaps there have been times when your life has not been as fruitful as it should have been. We must be careful during these times, because the Lord offers stern warnings to those who cannot be bothered with bearing fruit (John 15:2, Matthew 7:19).
It is impossible to live a life that produces lasting fruit through sheer human will. Fruit-producing requires us to trust in Christ, submit to His will, obey His commands and to determine to abide, or remain, within our Life-giving Vine (John 15:4), as He abides within us. If we do not do these things, we will find that either, we do not produce fruit, or that our fruit is only temporary and does not sustain.
Often my walk has produced its best, and most lasting fruit during a pruning season, only to become less productive, or even unproductive, once the pruning has been completed. There is a unfortunate, but simple reason for this. When I was going through my time of tribulation I clung desperately to my Savior. I sought him through worship, prayer, meditation and praise continually, and as I begun to rest in Him – to abide in Him – I was strengthened, He directed me, I obeyed, and I was changed.
The evidence of a walk accomplished through Christ is demonstrated through fruit that glorifies the Father.
After my situation had been resolved, and I had enjoyed the marvel of my mountaintop, distractions and discouragements would inevitably arise. I would wander away. And as I wandered away, I ceased experiencing the joy, strength and peace that came through resting in His love. When we fail to abide in Christ, or cease to remain totally dependent on Him, through trust, submission and obedience to His will, our fruit bearing decreases. In addition, complacency is costly, and in these times of distraction, I sometimes made choices that contributed to my problems and hardships.
Yet, a life lived in reliance on, and obedience to, God, results in joy and peace that can only be obtained through abiding in the presence, Spirit, wisdom and Word of God, and by His abiding in us.
We have been called and chosen by God, to accept the gifts of His presence both here in on earth, and then forever in eternity. But, we were not saved for ourselves so that we alone escape eternal judgment.
Rather, we were saved so that we might be productive according to His will, which is this – to live a life that daily loves others as He has loved us(Galatians 5:13).
If we love others the way that Christ loved us, then we are willing to set aside our desires and our wisdom for that of our Savior, so that we might point all to Him. For Christ died for all.
A life lived in love, through submission to the Father, and the power of the Holy Spirit, will certainly arouse persecution. In fact Jesus warned us that persecutions come along with the abundance of life that obedience brings (Mark 10:29-30). A life lived in complacency, distracted or discouraged by the cares of the world will also face troubles. Yet, though these persecutions and troubles may separate us from relationships, status, or even personally held dreams, they can never separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:34-36). In this we can rejoice, knowing that God does not waste a single tear, hurt, or betrayal.
As we rely on His Word and the Holy Spirit to sustain us and strengthen us through our times of greatest weakness, He uses these seasons to produce within us lasting trust, faith, and hope that enables us to abide, and welcomes Him to abide.
And it is through the abiding that we are able to sustain the production of fruit that both strengthens us, and also allows us to love and serve others. Then, we find that we have become able to understand Paul when he writes:
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 2:9-10)
Hallelujah. Praise the Lord.
Thank you for the opportunity to love You and please You. Thank you for trusting us to accomplish Your good work in the earth. Reveal to us any areas in our life that have ceased to produce lasting fruit. Help us to overcome distractions, discouragement, complacency and self-will that hinder our fruit-bearing process. Teach us how to produce fruit for the kingdom that will last, and to love others as You have loved us, so that others may be led to You. In Jesus name we ask this. We love you. Amen.