Christians: Are We Bearing Good Fruit?
My thanks and praise to our gracious God who frees me from the need to speculate on how the circumstances of my life could be a part of His plan. He, who is eternal and sovereign, continues to put a stamp of approval on His unseen purposes in my life. I believe this holds true to all who put their faith and trust in the Lord, for He who reigns in heaven and in all the earth, is in full control of our lives! He is not a seasonal God, but a God of all seasons. Glory to God!
Recently, the good Lord ministered to me about the “talents” He has given us, leading me to “the parable of the unforgiving servant who was brought before the king (Matthew 18:21-35)” and “the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).” With the help of the Holy Spirit, I began to remember things of my past and the present, one by one, bringing up more and more things that I would otherwise, never have thought about, in my fellowship with my friends and with my husband.
The words of Jesus gives us profound insight of His moral character, His loving, gracious, merciful and generous ways – even to those who are His enemies. As followers of Christ, we are called to bear the indelible stamp of His moral standard, found in Luke 6:35-36,“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return. And your reward shall be great, and you shall be the sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil. Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
Jesus also said in Luke 17:3-4,“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
The Lord reminds us in First John 3:9-10 that “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this, it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”
It is the love of our Father, the Maker and Ruler of heaven and earth, who has sent His one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. He, who has set us free from the bondage of sin, is worthy of all praise and worship. So great is His love for all who believe and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour for He, who is “majestic in holiness”, awesome in praises; is “supreme in power”! Hallelujah!
“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him”(John 3:35-36).
As Christians, we are both recipients and tasters of the grace and mercy of God, and His forgiveness through the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross and His Resurrection. The question we have to consider is this: Are we, “the forgiven”, conducting our lives with the same grace, mercy and compassion of the Lord, forgiving those who have hurt us, and especially those who have sought our forgiveness?
Hebrews 9:14 reads: ”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
”So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgement is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement. What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” (James 2:12-14).
The Lord says in John 15:16 “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you.” It is by God’s design that we bear fruit, and we are “to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8).” Jesus then went on to say in Matthew 7:18-20, “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”
“Now He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for eating, may He supply and multiply your seed, and increase the fruits of your righteousness (Second Corinthians 9:10).”
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29 ).”
We can look at “ talents” in the context of money as in Matthew 25:14-30. However, we can also look at it as any and all of our material possessions; our gifts (our skills and spiritual gifts); our time; our treasures, opportunities and other resources. For when God has entrusted us with our talents, we have been given the authority and full control over their use. Even so, God expects us to use them diligently and wisely for His glory and His Kingdom, He expects us to be bearing good fruit for Him. These talents may be useful and essential for our daily living but they are also a means of our spiritual growth. We need to know that we are also called and empowered to use them to help not only ourselves, but also our family, our loved ones, the church, our community and even the nations; for the glory of the Lord till He returns again.
Not only should we be thankful and grateful to God for the privilege and opportunity that He has given us, but we need to know that we have the responsibility to use well what He has given us. We also need to know that what we are given is NOT for us to “hoard” but for us to use for the glory of God; God says so in 1 Corinthians 12:7, for the “manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” We are also warned against our own desires in First John 2:16, “For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world.”
Because God has entrusted us with these treasures, we need to ask ourselves, “Have we been using our talents to help the lost, the poor and needy; the sick; the naked; the backslidden and the demon-possessed? The issue is not how much we have but how have we use them.
Are we sowing the seeds of God’s blessings wisely, diligently and obediently? Our faith is determined by our obedience to God. It is doing what we are called to do and taking what He has given us; replicating, increasing, and using it for the benefit of others, as well as for our growth and His glory. As God is faithful, we are called to be faithful followers and servants of the Lord. Are we trustworthy, honest and reliable?
Let us take the Word of God seriously and remember what Jesus said in Matthew 25:28-30, “So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
We are judged by the fruit we bear. Remember that Satan does not want us to discover our gifts; but he wants us to ignore our responsibility and be an ungodly influence to one another. Even when we go through tests and trials in life, remember that we have a God who is with us when we call Him by name. He who gives us strength, hope and life, will answer us and help us overcome our trials and tribulations.
To others, and to ourselves; it is required that we be profitable. For if we are not, Christ will not own us as His servants. It is not enough that we just do not hurt others. Instead, we must press on in unwavering faith and trust in God, yield to Him in unreserved obedience and in righteousness, bringing forth fruit; and glorying Him and Him alone.
Jesus said in John 15:5-8,“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
Amen and Amen!