Be Fruitful

John 15 :1-11 – I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, 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, 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, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
As the Father loved Me, I also have 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, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
Galations 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.
I am new to gardening.  My husband just built a flowerbox for me at the front of our house, and filled it with good fertilizer.  I don’t know much about flowering plants other than annuals last a season, and perennials come back again next year.  When the flowers I planted stop producing buds about two weeks after planting, a friend of mine suggested that I prune the old flowers.
Pruning is a strange concept to someone who knows nothing about plants.  The act of cutting off unfruitful parts so that the fruitful ones can flourish seems an unusual thought.  But if we think about it rationally, it may start to make sense.  If we consider the fact that resources are limited: that the soil only holds so much nutrient value, there is only so much water that a plant can take in, and there are only so many hours of sunlight in the day.  Then we might start to realize that taking away unfruitful branches help the fruitful ones to gain more resources that would have been used up by the unfruitful branches.
The same is true of our lives.  There are only so many hours in the day, and we only have so much energy.  If we spend our resources on things that are unfruitful – that bring us down instead of raising us up, we won’t have the resources necessary in order to help our fruitful branches bear more fruit.  Sometimes we spend ourselves on things that are not necessarily bad, but not best either.  There is nothing wrong with watching the news on TV, but now that there are 24 hour news networks, we could spend every waking moment watching it.  This would certainly take away our time to do better things, such as spending time building a relationship with the Lord.
Sports and activities keep us healthy and allow us to socialize with people we have common ground with.  This is a good thing.  But if we become so obsessed with a sport or activity that it takes time away from relationship building and fruit bearing, it too needs pruning.
We need to put everything under the obedience of Christ.  If it is not fruit bearing, prune it.  We need to spend more time in praise, worship, and meditating on scripture than we do watching television.  If we prioritize our lives and make God a greater priority, we will not regret the fruit that we bear.  Let’s make this our prayer today.
Ephesians 5:8-11 – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

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