We all live 24 hours each day, but the quality of the lives we live is different for all of us. Quality of life is determined by many things - but one of the most important of them is; Is having both a defined purpose and experiencing success in fulfilling that purpose.
If you have not yet discovered your unique purpose in life, you can still find great fulfillment by doing Colossians 1:10:
"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God."
The first task God gave to man was found in Genesis 1:28:
"And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it."
This was clarified in Genesis 2:15:
"And the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. "
Adam and Eve's JOB was simply Garden tending or Horticulture. (can you say Horticulture?)
You will also experience God's Blessing as you are fruitful and productive tasks God has put before You. But how do You grown in fruitfulness? To understand this we must see that God is also into Horticulture and we are in His garden.
So much of the teaching of Jesus is understood in the context of "Horticulture."
· Matthew 13:24 "And Jesus said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man which sowed good seed in his field"
· Luke 13:6 "And Jesus said, A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and looked for fruit on it, and did not find any."
· Luke 20:9 "And Jesus said, A certain man planted a vineyard, and put it under the care of husbandmen, (horticulturalist) and went into a far country for a long time."
Today let's look at how we grow and become fruitful in God's garden. Were going to examine some of the methods He uses to help us bear fruit.
· First we need to know that it is not our effort that causes us to grow or bear fruit.
Luke 12: 25 "Who of you by worrying can add a can add one cubit to his height (a single hour to his life)?"
· God started the process by planting the seed of His word in our hearts.
Mark 4:3-20 Jesus said: "Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. 14 "The sower sows the word." 20 "And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold." It is clear that God intends for you to grow and bear much fruit.
· Make sure your heart stays soft and tilled and you accept the Word of God gives to you. If you do, You will bear fruit!!
Matthew 13:31-32 "And Jesus said: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it becomes largest of garden plants like a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."
· It is God's intention for you to grow strong (He wants it more than you).
Psalm 1:3 "Those that Love Gods law shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also will not wither; and what ever he does will prosper."
As I was taking a morning walks with Barb, I saw something that baffled me.
In one place the sidewalk had been paved over some small plants & they were sprouting through the pavement! They actually pushed up the payment in there quest for the sun.
They still were connected to their roots and no matter the obstacle they still pushed through the pavement!
It does not matter where you came from. It matters who you are connected to!
I do not care what wild tree, you were cut from... If you are grafted into Jesus you can grow and bear much fruit.
Romans 11:16-24 "if the root is holy, the branches are too."
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you." You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? "
Ok... you are now part of the true vine. You were grafted in
Lets talk about increasing your yield of fruit. Can you say "Pruning"?
John 15:1-11 Jesus said: "I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman.
"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. "These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."
No one likes to be pruned! But trimming off a few branches is better than the option... getting rid of the whole tree.
Luke 13:7 "Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?"
Let's get closer to home.
Matthew 5:30 "And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."
Matthew 18:8 "Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire."
Pruning produces plenty! No pruning produces nothing.
Discipline produces a harvest of righteousness & peace.
Hebrews 12:11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."
How does a plant grow?
Is it by great effort straining upward toward the light? Or is it simply the result of the nourishment provided by its roots which lifts it to where it can receive the benefit of the light.
How does the plant produce its fruit?
Is it by expending and sacrificing all of its resources to do so? Or is it just acting as conduit of the supply of nourishment from below, a fellow beneficiary of the resources of the root.
How do you grow?
Is it by your great effort, straining to be more than you have been before? Or is it simply the result spending time with Jesus receiving the spiritual nourishment that he provides which lifts us to where it can receive all the benefit of His life.
How do you produce fruit which will remain?
Is it by expending and sacrificing your limited resources to do so? Or is it by simply offering yourself as a conduit of the unlimited supply of God? And in so doing become a fellow beneficiary of the resources of Heaven.