Once upon a time, in an ancient & almost forgotten century, there was a movie called When Harry Met Sally. In the movie, there are these brief interviews with couples who have been married for eons. What has lingered in my memory from these interviews & from watching couples who are old & have been married since before time, is often the rich texture, the broad understanding & genuine respect that these relationships evidence. There’s something very alluring & appealing to seeing these long-term relationships. With all of this being said, I don’t really consider myself to be much of a romantic person (skip the roses, chocolate & I’m unable to muster the interest to endure watching Pride & Prejudice, no matter who the actors are). BUT, what I do like are the results from these long-term committments.
So here’s my point: the results we often crave in our lives (significance, love, fulfillment, intimacy, satisfaction, achievement, etc) are often nothing less than the consequences of committment, a word that is often disdained in our modern culture. Perhaps when Jesus talked about abiding in Him to bear much fruit / results, just maybe He was talking about being committed to Him in a deeply personal & daily relationship. Just a little food for thought ,)
My husband informed me that the rhubarb I planted last year is starting to grow & I’m SUPER excited about this! I’m very excited because of a few reasons – my grandma had this amazing rhubarb torte recipe that I LOVE to make every summer. I could pretty much eat the whole thing with no help, but that would be selfish 😦 Another reason I’m excited is because the planting instructions said that I couldn’t harvest or eat any of it, until it had been in the ground for a year. That could be considered to be a long time to wait for a rhubarb harvest ,)
So here’s my point, I think we need to be really mindful of what “seeds” that we are planting today because they will be the harvest for your future. Furthermore, I would suggest that you might take an inventory of the results you currently have in your life, to see what you like & what you don’t like. From this inventory, you could probably pick out a few seeds that you want to continue to plant (behaviors that you want to continue) & a few seeds that could use some planting adjustments ,)
I’ve been reading where Jesus talks about being fruitful for God in John 15 & He brings out the idea of pruning a branch to make it more fruitful. In this chapter, He talks about how there are branches that take life but bear no fruit. I can see the truth of what Jesus is saying in many areas of my life. If I’m not careful, I can get involved w lots of different things & give away loads of my time, but to things that have nothing more than frothy results, things that are shallow & empty.
If I want God’s results to be working throughout my life, then it’s very important that I cooperate w His pruning process, even when I don’t always like it. Pruning makes for a fruitful life 😀
I always like to hear encouraging stories about how a person has been persistent & the great rewards that they experience from their endurance – some truly great people have become great, in part due to their persistence.
There is, however, an ugly side to persistence & its called stubborness. I’ve heard many stories as well about people being stubborn & the bad things that have happened because of their unwillingness to change. It’s interesting that the words “persistent” & “stubborn” can have similar meanings but evoke different responses in us. So I’ve been thinking about what the difference is for me with these words & here’s my perspective:
When I am stubborn, I assert my will & desires at almost all costs. But when I’m committed to asserting God’s will in my life (conversations, attitudes, actions, etc) over my desires, then perhaps I could consider that I’m being persistent. For me, one word is all about me & the other word is all about Jesus. So I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will dismantle any & all “stubborn” scaffolding in my life & replace those structures with His persistence & endurance to work out God’s will through my daily living. Persistence gets God’s results & stubborness get’s my results
I totally love the fruits that we get during the Summer – I love peaches, strawberries, cherries, rhubarb, apricots, figs, blueberries, . . . . I LOVE these fruits!! I love to use them in pies, tortes, grilled, fresh, with cream, . . . . . There have even been a few occasions when I’ve eaten so many of these that I’ve gotten sick Nevertheless, Summer fruits are delicious!! These are season fruits that can be harvested in the Summer. So I try to eat as many of them as I can while they’re available.
But I also think about these fruits in relation to the fruits of the Holy Spirit that Paul discusses in Galatians 5 – fruits like patience, love, peace, self-control, joy, gentleness, goodness, kindness and faithfulness. I LOVE it when I have these fruits in my life – seems like life is more enjoyable & effective. But here’s my challenge, I’ve tried to make myself be patient & boy was that a disaster! I’ve tried to be more loving, only to find myself venting on someone who was undeserving of such wrath. I’ve tried to be gentle, only to find myself bumbling through emotional land mines. I’ve come to this conclusion – these things are the fruit of the SPIRIT, not the fruit of Sarah. With this flash of brilliance, my main objective now, is to live increasingly sensitive to the Holy Spirit. You see, the more I’m around the Holy Spirit, the more these consequences / fruits become observable in my life and the Fruit of the Spirit far surpasses any peach, strawberry, cherry, rhubarb, blueberry, apricot or fig ,)