Recently, I taught our Sunday Bible study class. We had been studying the Holy Spirit and had a lesson on the fruit that the Spirit desires to produce in us. I realized my fruit branch was lacking in a couple of areas.
Jesus speaks of being connected to the vine. In fact, He spends over half of John 15 with a visual, almost a parable. Picture a thick grape vine with many branches. In his example, he wants us to label the thick vine “Jesus” and one of the branches “me.”
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
So, I must cling to this main vine (Jesus)—remain in Him, abide, dwell in Him. We know what it is to dwell on a thought. Your mind keeps coming back to that thought over and over. That’s what He wants us to do with Him. Dwell on Him, draw strength from Him, gain wisdom from Him, search for what He desires in us.
There’s a gardener in the parable. We’re to label him “God.”
In your mind, draw a pair of pruning shears in God’s hand.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2
With these thoughts in mind, I looked at the fruit of the Spirit.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23
I tend to have strong opinions which is fine, but at times, I may express them in a way that negates my good reasoning. I engaged in a discussion with a young family member about tattoos and went on about the disadvantages. It came across with bitterness and heat. I realized that the “gentle” grapes in my cluster were looking pretty drawn up and dry.
Gentleness is not milk toast, “mamby-pamby” behavior. It is strength—but under control, coupled with kindness. So, I wrote a letter to this dear one, giving examples of times when she had painted certain colors or symbols on things but grew tired of them. An emblem may not be as dear to us after ten years. Why not paint it on paper, frame it, hang it on a wall and enjoy seeing it all the time? When it becomes tiresome or out of date, one can take it down, put it in a memory box, give it away, or throw it away. But if it is tattooed on you, it is there forever.
Well, you get the idea. I apologized for my previous quick words and harsh attitude. Kindness and gentleness goes a long way. It produces plump juicy fruit.
If the Lord has to prune us, it may be time for some self examination.
~ Joyce ~