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All show and no fruit.

Branches, branches, and more branches - but no fruit.

This past year’s fruit harvest was pitiful. One of the reasons has to do with poor pruning habits and then poor techniques to boot. The vines were cut far too late in the season and the trees hadn’t been trimmed in years. Most of the fruit trees are ancient and unattended and covered with fungus. Even so, we usually have an abundance of fruit, especially on the vines, but not this year. As you can see from the pictures, the vines produced nothing but leaves and emptiness. The tree is deformed and barren and fungus-covered.

 

Our spiritual lives are like this as well. We will not see the fruit of the Spirit in our lives if we choose to refuse the Lord’s pruning and neglect His work in our lives or if we choose to follow our own paths and needlessly wind up with our connections to Him being cut off during times we should be growing.

A well-pruned life with healthy connections to the very Presence of God always produces the fruit of the Spirit and is an abundant source of nourishment for the body of Christ. That life draws many to come and taste and see that the Lord is indeed good!

I have known both conditions in my life over the years. There have been times when all I wanted was to be left alone to go my own way and find my own happiness. And I have learned the hard way just how futile that is. I don’t about others, but for me, that seems to be most true when I either refuse or just plain neglect to deal with the pain in my life and fail to grieve and cry out for the Lord to come and enter my grief with me. I am beginning to see how much of that tendency came from necessity arising from a childhood that gave many opportunities to grieve without being taught how to grieve properly. Please hear me clearly, this is in no way a pointing of fingers to applying blame – just a coming to terms with reality.

We live in a harsh and broken world. Few learn in their early years to seek God with their whole hearts and discover the depth of His redemptive work in our lives. And we also live disconnected from the older generations who just might have learned to live in open response to the God of heaven.

And so we live disconnected from the one true source of life and we become like my vines and trees – barren, fruitless, and diseased.

It does not have to be so. It does not have to continue if it is so. In John 15 Jesus says,

I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.

Let us surrender to Him and invite Him do His work of pruning and renewing and producing fruit! It will be worth it and our lives and our worth will bloom and flourish. And He will show forth His glory and His light will shine through us!

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