I love the story Mr Wilkinson shares about moving to the country and encountering his neighbor chopping at their mutually shared grapevines. You can find this in chapter 5 of this great little book. What I want us to take away is simply: we just don’t know, what we just don’t know. He was thinking they all were going to eat delicious grapes if the vine would just keep growing the way it was. But the reality is that, unless his neighbor pruned that plant way back to the point of looking like he was killing it, that grapevine would have just produced more showy leaves, instead of the fruit that was what he truly desired. The neighbor says, “We just can’t have both.” (p 57) And of course, this is true for our New Life in Christ too.
Once we are saved, Jesus continues being our Savior, as He moves us FROM sin and TOWARDS more holiness. One way God does this is by cutting out things in our lives that no longer produce the Fruit within us. These can be sinful habits that we are still clinging to, as with that first “Basket,” but at this level, it can also be things that we think are good. For example, the Lord recently had me close a Bible study class that I had been leading for about 7 years. At first it made no sense to me, nor my ladies that attended, but out of obedience, I did what the Lord moved me to do. A year and a half later, I see exactly what God was, and still is, up to. The flourishing growth in my husband as we are attending church together, and talking about the Bible together, and enjoying life in general together, has been miraculous. Note I kept saying “together.” God cut out, at least temporarily, my commitment at that church to connect me deeper with my husband. And it is leading to so much more joy and peace in my life, in our household, and in my ministry. That “much more peace and joy” is more of the Fruit that God desires to produce in our lives.
We cannot continue to do life our way AND have more of the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Something has to give, and that “something” is our way, because it will only give us more of what we had, a self-centered, unfulfilling, inconsistent life that left us wondering, “What is missing?” If you don’t take anything else from this talk today, please know this: God knows what He’s doing, so seek Him, obey His leading, and choose to enjoy the ride.
2023’s Got A Minute? Book Club
January: The First & Best Book Ever: The Bible
February: Love Is In the Air: “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” by Gary Chapman
March: Spring Growth: “Secrets of the Vine” by Bruce Wilkinson
<>< Peace, Diane