April 18, 2013

Fruitful Faith

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- April 18, 2013

Then he [Jesus] told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. Luke 13:6

The expectation of the Lord is for His children to bear fruit. Indeed, a life without fruit takes up space, instead of being an expression of God’s grace. Our Heavenly Father is patient, however He does draw a line in the sand of time and says to individuals, institutions and nations, repent or lose My favor. A soul or society that is barren of fruitful faith will eventually see God move on to those governed by His principles. The fruit of faith flourishes in a heart cultivated by Christ.

What fruit is your faith producing? The fruit of peace comes as you plant the seeds of trust in Jesus. Patience’s fruit appears as you prayerfully water the seeds of God’s grace. The fruit of perseverance is produced when you fertilize with faith in the goodness of God. Humility’s fruit blossoms when your Heavenly Father sows His loving kindness into your soul. Furthermore, a harvest of good deeds (enough to fill a barn) occurs when death to self brings to life your love!

I [Jesus] am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off 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

The mercy of the Lord does include a pruning process. Instead of immediately removing a fruitless faith He gives it time to grow by the shears of suffering. Yes, pain is meant to purge us from unhealthy habits and remind us of our undeniable dependence on Christ. Our Heavenly Husband cuts back our branches diseased by sin. Jesus, our Vine of spiritual nutrients, feeds our faith. Then the Holy Spirit creates blossoms in our life by bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

Otherwise, if the compassionate and thorough work of the Trinity is ignored we are in danger of being cut off from the life-giving grace of the Father, Son and Spirit. Furthermore, we are commanded by Christ to spread the manure of His mercy around the base of the unhealthy lives we influence. Yes, our service may smell repulsive to sinful souls, but our relentless love and forgiveness may facilitate fruit with the sweet aroma of salvation. Fruitful faith enjoys God’s favor.

The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:8-9

Prayer: Heavenly Father prune back my unhealthy attitudes and actions, so I can serve others.

Related Readings: Isaiah 5:2; Jeremiah 8:13; John 15:5-8; Hebrews 6:7

Post/Tweet today: A soul or society that is barren of fruitful faith will eventually see God move on to those governed by His principles. #faithfulness

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© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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  1. Edward says:

    I find today’s devotional misleading in some respects. I think you can take an analogy too far and this is one of those times. To state that GOD’s grace is dependent on our performance is controversial at best and downright heretical at worst.

    Yes the LORD cuts back and prunes (there is a difference – every gardener knows) but to say that we are “in danger of being cut off from the life giving grace of the Father” is like saying that the roots of the vine are cut off. Nothing can be farther from the Truth about GOD’s grace. HIS Grace extends to us Always, his love is unconditional. Yes he may eventually stop spreading fertilizer around the base of the plant that is not producing fruit but he does not rip us out by the roots or cut us off. To imply so is BAD theology and adds to the confusion of the Saints. Far too many think they have to be re-saved because their Salvation didn’t “take”. Still others read devotionals like this one and think that GOD will cut them off if they fail to perform (produce fruit). GOD loves and accepts us because we are HIS, like a Father loves a mentally handicapped Kid, who may not ever produce any “fruit”. I see the intent of your message and its a good one, if you just hadn’t put in that sentence about being cut off. Be careful about telling the Saints that their acceptance and salvation is conditional upon their performance. Their Blessing and reward is conditional but NOT their acceptance. Salvation = Acceptance (Gods Grace), Reward/Blessing = Performance (Fruit bearing).

  2. Sherry says:

    Hi Edward,
    Your response is interesting and I see your point about confusing the saints.
    I think that even the mentally ill can produce fruit of the Spirit by indirectly cultivating God’s love in others around them. Sometimes the sick and lame cultivate desired actions of the caregivers, doctors, nurses, etc.. Since we do not know the whys behind some situations, we are left with the what nows instead.
    In my own experiences, when God has trimmed my branches he does so with loving kindness.
    May the Lord richly bless you.

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