abiding

Have you ever had a day where it feels like someone comes behind everything you accomplish and then scrambles it so it needs accomplished again? (all the mommas in the house say “hey-o!”)

It was something like that, this day, but I could feel God pursuing and persevering – stretching out grace so I could step inside it.

There was a moment when I had a little one in my backseat (who preferred silence to my singing antics), when I asked if I could pray for him. He didn’t say no, so I prayed… and as I did I got filled up remembering what kind of Savior I have. I got filled up just thinking about what the Lord offers to those who choose Him. I prayed for the little one’s heart and for protection and for a spirit ready to hear and understand the Gospel. And then the little one said, “Amen!” and I praised God with a satisfied soul.

Abiding in the John 15 kind of way does not promise prime “abiding conditions.” But this is the beauty of abiding in Christ – the only necessary condition is met in Him. The fruit-bearing branch on the vine only bears fruit because it abides in the vine. Not because the weather is right or because the irrigation is working (of course all these things are tended to by the vinedresser), but the branch bears fruit because it abides in the vine, and the vine is reliable to produce fruit.

Today when I glimpsed fruit on the branch, I praised God for the vine.
I praised God because He is the one condition necessary for good things.
I praise God because He abides in me and His grace alone can foil the tempter’s power.

fruit is meant to be eaten

 

My uncle sent me a text not too long ago after I asked him about the farms in southwest Iowa. It read, “Many mouths will be empty in the world, I fear.” The summer has been a big, ugly drought here in the Midwest.

And that has me thinking about provision.

There’s no way around it – we need food. We might be confused about how much we need, but the fact that we need it is not up for debate. We are wired to need food.

The reality that we depend on food is something God uses every day to remind us of our dependence on Him. When we have daily bread, we are thankful. When we lack daily bread, we remember that He is the bread of life. Whether we are hungry or full, God is always the Provider.

As I think about the fruit produced in John 15, I wonder what happens to all of the produce. Have you ever thought of that? God is the vine and we are the branches. If we remain in Him, we will bear MUCH FRUIT. It is clear that God is the Provider – what branch can produce fruit separate from the vine? But, for the person who remains in the Lord, what is to become of the fruit he/she produces? Does it just accumulate and then fall to the ground under the fruit-heavy branches?

Fruit is meant to be eaten, at least where I come from. I love the summer months that bring blueberries and sweet bing cherries. I love the fall months that bring Honeycrisp apples and grapes and pomegranates. I love the winter months that bring out the canned peaches and strawberry jams. I love these fruits because they are delicious.

So, what if we thought of the fruit on our branches in the same way? What if, as we are remaining in the Lord – knowing Him, finding out what pleases Him, and delighting to do those things – we are a fruit factory

What if God serves up fruit through our lives so that others can taste and see that HE IS GOOD? Isn’t this what it says in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine bright before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise the Father in heaven.”?

As we remain in Him, we cannot help but produce fruit – delicious, ripe, fresh-off-the-vine fruit. Now, if we could just find ways to serve others with this precious produce. Our fruit is not meant to rot on the branch, but to be shared and enjoyed!

The fruit produced by branches connected to the vine is meant to be eaten by others, enjoyed by others, and served to others. Let this be the way we handle the fruit of the Spirit.