Wednesday, January 11, 2017
“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 15:2.
Yesterday while working in the kitchen I opened a jar of green olives only to discover I had bought the ones with the pits still inside them. I did this another time but was too lazy to cut out the pits. Over time, Bruce ate them as I just ignored them. I had a little more time yesterday, and so I began cutting around the pit with a sharp knife. It was boring and monotonous which is a sure recipe for my mind to go other places. I began thinking how we are like those mounds of green olives, and how God precisely and methodically cuts around the unproductive hard parts of our hearts. I only have to look at the heart work which was accomplished in my own life through tough circumstances. He sliced away any prideful image of myself. He cut around the tendency to judge through experiences where others judged me. He used my weaknesses to showcase His glory and strength.Jesus said, ‘I came that they may have life and have it abundantly’ John 10:10. I am grateful that our trials produce fruit that lasts. During easy and comfortable times the heart work is limited and the fruit scarce compared to the enduring attitudes born out of trials. We become more connected with Jesus and His suffering. We become more grateful when we share in His joy apart from our circumstances. We produce our best fruit when the pit has been cut away and all that remains is that which is profitable for our faith. ‘Hard things happen to faithful people. The superiority of a life lived in God isn’t superior because it’s pain-free or easy; it’s superior because it approaches the hard parts of life with joy! Joyless Christians do a lousy job of pointing others to Christ…Our capacity to live to the fullest even in the middle of hardship is always connected to the vitality of our relationship with God.’ When Life is Hard, James MacDonald, p. 41.
“You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act” Matthew 7:16.