But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
I finally grasped the difference between busy and fruitful at some point in the last few years. I once ran myself ragged trying to do far too much and none of it to my satisfaction. I now realize fruitful doesn’t equate to a steady stream of productivity coming off a line.
As in my garden, there are times in the process of bearing fruit that seem barren. It looks like nothing is going on. There are dry patches and periods of dormancy. Then there are times when the storms of life inundate us, and we feel like we will never feel the warmth of the sun (or Son) again. Yet, it is all part of the process.
Few things of any substance grow without considerable changes to their environment and a substantial amount of time.
Some things sprout overnight, like the weeds I’d rather be rid of. I’ve grown wary of anything that offers instant gratification. Things that are truly valuable like fulfilling relationships, accomplishing goals and realizing our dreams tend to take time and attention to not only develop but to also keep those things alive.
Thankfully, God rewards faith and patience as evidenced by Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses and a slew of other flawed yet willing figures in the Bible. And God rewards us as well.
If we do not give up on those dreams God plants within us, we can eventually yield the promised harvest if we trust and obey. This also means keeping the faith when we are pruned (as were our heroes of the Bible) so we can eventually produce something good!
Pruning is painful and leaves lasting scars. But it is necessary. God would have us reach for the new things He wants to give. Instead, we often hold fast to dead dry things. When we are stubborn, God simply rips away the very things (or people) we are clinging to for our own good.
Left to ourselves, we can produce a lot of different things.
Doubt. Fear. Worry.
But that is not what God ever intended. Our Father wants more for us in this life.
From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
and the work of their hands brings them reward. Proverbs 12:14 NIV
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ,
that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead,
in order that we might bear fruit for God. Romans 7:4 NIV
I’m striving to produce those things our Father desires, not just whatever happens to come to mind.
I’ve also learned that becoming fruitful means enduring temporary pains to produce long-term gains. I’ll admit that lesson probably took a lot longer than it should have to learn.
Thankfully, God is patient. God’s power working in and through us can produce a harvest that truly glorifies Him and even allows us to love one another in the process.
What are you bringing forth?