Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Living a FRUITFUL life

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you will as well.

I want to talk with you today about being fruitful. God desires for His children to bear fruit. Look at what Jesus says in John 15:8:

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit. John 15:8 NKJV

Do you want to know the will of God for your life? Jesus said, "I chose you… that you should… bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain" (John 15:16).
"But what if my branch is barren and my basket is empty?" you ask. "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away" (John 15:2 NKJV).

The Greek word for 'take away' is 'airo' which means 'to lift'. New branches have a tendency to trail along the ground. But they don't bear fruit there. When the rain comes they get muddy and mildewed, sick and barren.

So, does the vinedresser throw them away? No, they're too valuable for that. He goes through His vineyard with a bucket of water, looking for fallen branches, lifting them out of the dirt and washing them off. Remember His words in John 15:3? "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." Once they've been washed, He lifts them, wraps them around the trellis, ties them securely, and pretty soon they're thriving.

What a picture! Whether you've fallen into the dirt, or you're just living beneath your potential, God won't throw you away. No, He'll lift you, cleanse you and help you to flourish again.

Without regular pruning, a vine will only live up to a fraction of its potential. Vineyards have only one purpose - grapes! Energy spent on anything else, no matter how impressive, is wasted.

Expert pruners have four things clearly in mind:

(1) Removing anything that's dead or dying.
(2) Making sure sunlight gets to all fruit-bearing branches.
(3) Increasing the size and quality of the fruit.
(4) Encouraging new fruit to develop.

To make room for the kind of abundance God created you for, He'll begin cutting away the parts of your life that are draining precious time and energy from what's truly important. To accomplish this, He'll even risk your misunderstanding of His methods and motives. His purpose for you requires the cutting away of… bad habits and attitudes… wrong relationships… lesser priorities… anything that distracts from your highest calling.

Are you praying for God's abundant blessings in your life? Are you asking Him to use you in His service? If so, you're asking for the shears! Pruning is how God answers such prayers!

If you're being pruned today, follow these steps:

(1) Pay attention. Don't waste this season of preparation.
(2) Ask God whether you're being pruned for greater fruitfulness, or disciplined because of sin - there's a difference. If it's sin, repent and get back on track.
(3) If your response to the pruning process is right, your rewards will be great.

Hey, 'too-busy' believer, Jesus said: "He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5 NKJV). Want greater results? Spend more time with God! Want to abound more? Abide more! It's the branch with the strongest, least-obstructed connection to the vine that has the greatest potential for fruitfulness.

But look out! A-hundred-and-one things will arise daily to keep you from spending quality time with God. And as for an extended period set aside to wait in His presence - that'll take a huge effort, but you can do it!

Ten times in 6 verses Jesus says, "Abide." Why? Because it's not natural! Jesus knew that in the coming years His disciples would be called upon to produce enough fruit to turn the world upside-down. But you can't even begin to have that kind of impact, without first achieving the one thing you're most likely to forget - more of Him!

Today you have two options:

(1) "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered" (John 15:6 NKJV). The word withered means worthless. Don't spend your life on worthless things! God's will is that you should bear fruit, "and that your fruit should remain" (John 15:16). Influence beyond your life span! A legacy that's eternal - that should be your goal!
(2) If you stay closely connected to Him, if you draw spiritual nourishment from Him, if you allow the power that flows through Him to flow through you, nothing will keep you from reaching the most abundant life possible!


Pastor Rusty


Anonymous said...

That's a wonderful redemptive thought! Thanks for digging into "airo" and finding that nugget. Larry Hall

Treasure Seeker said...

good stuff.
i needed that.
luv u!