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  • Writer's pictureJack Selcher

Spiritual Fruitfulness


Jesus squeezing juice out of grapes showing spiritual fruitfulness

I swung a rubber hose with a stick inside of it to get the job done. I was thinning peaches during hot summer afternoons at the orchard where, as a teenager, I worked for the summer.


Peach trees often set too many peaches for all to grow to marketable size. Enter the teenage peach thinner. I would strike excess peaches to space the remaining ones about eight inches apart. This was part of my employer’s plan to maximize the peach harvest. He did more.


He pruned his trees in early spring. He removed about 40 percent of each tree annually to encourage new growth. He removed broken or diseased branches. He pruned away suckers and water sprouts. He cut off everything that drew from the tree’s strength but wouldn’t produce marketable fruit.


More importantly, God expects and has a plan to maximize our spiritual fruitfulness. We’re like those peach trees. “He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more” (John 15:2 NLT).


Jesus said, “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father” (John 15:8 NLT). This pruning narrows and focuses our lives on that which has eternal significance and systematically removes what doesn’t. That is part of the denying and dying to ourselves required to follow Jesus (Luke 9:23).


Life isn’t about the pursuit of happiness. I received a message from a stranger on Facebook who said, “I am not happy.” The woman expected me to fix the problem.


The real problem was that she misunderstood life’s purpose. Her life wasn’t God-centered and useful to the Master. Joy is a by-product of a right relationship with God (John 15:8–11).


The satisfaction I’ve experienced from the awards and honors I’ve received doesn’t compare with the ocean-deep contentment of making an eternal difference in someone’s life.


Paul wrote to Timothy, “If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21 NLT).


A fruitful life is devoted to doing good. Any other defining purpose sucks away life’s vital energy and resources while producing nothing of enduring worth.


Paul wrote, “Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive” (Titus 3:14 NLT). Urgent needs might be emotional, physical, financial, and/or spiritual.


We can spend our lives like a honeybee flitting from one self-serving flower to the next. We can spend our time entertaining ourselves and others with things we’re good at and enjoy.


We can try to make a name for ourselves in the world. That guarantees we won’t produce much spiritual fruit for God. The spiritually fruitful ignore the world’s marching beat and applause for the applause of One. Are we willing to do that?


Our fruitfulness enhances others’ spiritual health. God blesses us to bless others. Using our spiritual gifts narrows our focus from the many activities we could do to the few we must do.


A spiritual gifts inventory helps identify our gifts. We know we’re in the right place when people confirm we’re blessing them in a joy-producing ministry to which we’re attracted like iron to a magnet. #freediscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources 


See free spiritual growth resources for Christians at https://www.christiangrowthresources.com


God has equipped and empowered me to write His Power for Your Weakness—260 Steps Toward Spiritual Strength. It’s a free devotional, evangelism, and discipleship resource. Pastors have used it in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia to lead more than 2,400 people to faith in Christ and teach the basics of Christianity to 3,359 people. I invite you to check it out. https://www.christiangrowthresources.com/his-power-for-your-weakness 

 

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