I’ll never forget the words that the Lord spoke over me when life as I knew it walked out on me and my children. As tears streamed down my face, I watched his car drive away from our home. I kept questioning if I would be enough for him to stay and choose us. Almost immediately I heard the Lord say to me, “Am I enough for you?”
This invitation to lift my eyes up and off my circumstance and remain tethered to Christ, in the midst of a crisis, is forever a marked moment for me, and one that I attribute to the fruit I see and experience in my life today. While feeling unseen in that moment, the Lord quickly proved to me that my feelings did not reflect the truth. His words to me were an invitation to be seen and loved and to step into a deeper relationship with Him, to trust Him in the face of great uncertainty. Looking back now, it was a literal life vest offered to me, changing the trajectory of my future.
As I’ve walked through seasons of both joy and hardship, I have come to know with full confidence that I am joyful, satisfied, content, and fulfilled when I am connected to the vine (Jesus). There is none like Him. There is no alternative or quick fix or solution.
I cannot and will not take credit for where I am today. My life is far from perfect and I am still dealing with the consequences of other people’s actions and sin, but I have been victorious in Christ, and Christ alone, who sustained me and sustains me still. John 15:5 doesn’t say that the one who remains in me, and I in Him, might bear fruit. The promise is that we will bear fruit as we remain in Him. What a gift!
For me, fruit has been seen and experienced as forgiveness, favor, growing better not bitter, peace, blessings, and joy, even in hardship.
I don’t consider myself an expert gardener, but I do understand the importance of pruning, especially deadheading: removing dead things to encourage further blooming. In this life we will experience death. It might be a physical death of a loved one, a death of a marriage, an unexpected death/loss of a longstanding friendship or job. Loss can often look and feel like death, but in Christ it is an opportunity for new life.
All good things come from being in community with Christ and fellow believers. I haven’t always chosen the best company to spend my time with. Unhealthy relationships can slowly choke the life out of us and, as a consequence, we lose our fruit. This is one of the bigger lessons that I have learned in the past few years: community matters. Who you spend time with, who you listen to, who you trust—it matters.
First and foremost, spend time with Christ. Others may come and go, but He is our vine and our anchor.
The enemy would love nothing more than for us to keep our eyes on ourselves and fixated on our problems rather than grabbing hold of our good, good Father and abiding in Him. We become a threat as we stay connected to Christ, and even more of a threat when we begin to bear fruit. Therefore, we must stay alert to the schemes of darkness that try to keep us from spending time in God’s Word and with God’s people. Distraction, hurt, and busyness are all tactics of the enemy to keep us away from what matters most and keep us from bearing fruit.
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