May our lives bear much fruit. May those around us see in us a difference. May the Light within us be so bright as to blind others like Saul, yet so inviting as to cause them to come in and partake of the fruit of the Spirit, for our lives are not our own, they were bought with a price, and they are to be shared freely. If we have no fruit, and remain self focused, may the Lord work on that today, and bring us back to Him with Living Waters that we might not have to become withered. And if we are already withered, may the Lord restore us. May He bring us back by the blood of the Vine to continue to abide therein with Him and help us to have the fruit we so desperately need that we might share with those around us.
“Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.” Matthew 21:18&19
O my precious brethren, how the Lord does hunger today for His children to bear His fruit. So many of us stand on our own, as the fig tree was, growing with plenty of leaves to gather the sunshine. Yet, our lives are singular, not aiding our fellow man with any sort of fruit to strengthen them, perhaps providing some shade, but nothing more. All of our efforts are self serving, and self preserving. Some of us are so selfishly focused that we are even more akin to the mesquite tree than the olive tree, growing strong surrounded by a desert with no relief, but fending off anyone who might dare to come near with our thick thorns.
God will not allow this to continue for long. We may do well for ourselves for a time, but there comes a day when the reaper sows, and if we are fruitless, ripe with only thorns, The Lord will remove the life more abundant from us.
“If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:6
He will say to us that if we refuse to hearken to His Voice, to follow after Him, and to proclaim Him to others that they might come, as well, then neither will we partake of any of the benefits of the life more abundant. Our self service will eventually get us to a dead end, and like Israel of old, we will be scattered, removed from fellowship, and left to the world, where we will find all that we once had is withered away and we are left to eat from the slop trough of the pigs with which we now abide.
Yet, beloved brethren, there is still a Hope, we are not yet eternally lost. As the prodigal son soon realized his own error and his lowly position to which he had brought himself, so too will our own desert bound, withered, fruitless lives soon capture our attention and show us our own selfishness. We are not yet gathered for the flames if we are yet alive and still have a heart to hear His call, because just as God can take away the life from a tree for its lack of fruit, He also brings life abundant to those who repent of their sins and believe.
“And He saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And He saith unto them [Pharisees], Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.” Mark 3:3-5
Brethren, do not be like the Pharisees and have hardened hearts that will not continue to hear His call. God wants to restore to us all that was removed, even our lives. All He asks is that we abide in Jesus, believing that His finished work is for everyone. When we do this, our hearts will be changed daily, becoming softer and softer, and we will bear the fruit He looks for in His children, which is that which is to be freely given from us to all others.
“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:” Galatians 5:22&23