Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Harvest of Grace"

   A peach tree stood in the backyard of my early childhood home.  This thrilled me upon first discovery of its presence because I loved peaches (still do).  I couldn't wait for the summer crop that I knew would bless us with beautiful, fragrant, juicy, and delicious fruits, allowing me to simply pick and eat one of my favorite culinary delights.  

    Disappointment awaited me regarding my expectations.  Perhaps due to lack of care, poor soil, disease, or age, the tree produced inedible peaches smaller than a golf ball, just about as hard, and lacking any fragrance or flavor that approached peachy goodness.  I never experienced the blessing for which I had hoped, realizing after several seasons that for whatever horticultural reason, the tree would never produce good fruit.

    The Apostle Paul prayed for the Philippian believers that they would be "filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:11).  God planted a good tree in us when we trusted in Christ, a spiritual root that produces good fruit in those who realize that He is the source of the spiritual harvest God seeks to produce in us.  "I am the Vine, ye are the branches" declared the Lord Jesus to His disciples" (John 15:5).  Our calling involves the faith and submission that keep the life of the Vine freely flowing into our hearts and minds.  We acknowledge His faithful presence, our complete dependence, and our privileged responsibility to accept our role in fruit-bearing.  As Paul wrote, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).  

    We cannot independently produce "the fruits of righteousness."  We do, however, keep our hearts in good soil and exposed to necessary light by consistently seeking our Lord's fellowship, provision, and enabling.  "Keep yourselves in the love of God" commanded Jude (Jude 1:21).  Much fruit hangs upon the branches of believers who acknowledge the grace-planted Tree of life dwelling within us through the Holy Spirit.  Our Heavenly Father finds much pleasure in good fruits borne upon the branches of His children, as produced by the good Vine of His Son's presence, life, and spiritual vitality.  My long ago disappointment reminds, encourages, and challenges me to not be as that tree of old, but rather to keep myself in the healthy Soil and holy Light that leads to the harvest of grace…

"God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."
(II Corinthians 9:8)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord will not impute sin.
(Romans 4:8)

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