Thursday, February 21, 2013



This weekend, I had the opportunity to be part of a youth retreat at my church.  I heard some wonderful classes and would like to share with you some thoughts from one I thought particularly applicable in the life of the modern day disciple. 

This lesson was on fruitfulness-- AKA becoming the kind of person who is known by the fruit they bear.  As you may know, the characteristics that God wants us to develop are referred to as the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  Bearing characteristics of a disciple is often compared to bearing fruit.  Jesus says to his disciples in John 15:16, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit-- fruit that will last-- and so that whatever you as in my name the Father will give you."  In another place, Jesus curses a fig tree that did not produce fruit, symbolizing the spiritual death of those who do not bear fruit in this life.  

Getting back to the lesson, what does it mean to bear fruit?  As this teacher pointed out, we can't do anything to make God's Kingdom happen faster.  What we CAN do is watch, be ready for the return of Christ, and bear fruit.  Here are some often overlooked passages that I think are quite applicable to our lives.
  • 2 Chronicles 14:2-- King Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of God.  How was he rewarded?  He fights a battle with 580,000 men against the Cushites who had an army of "thousands upon thousands."  Who wins? You guessed it.... Asa, who asked God for deliverance.  So be prepared to be outnumbered, because it is NOTHING for the Lord to deliver us. 
  • Joshua 4-- Joshua has 600,000 fighting men, but how many does he send out into war? Merely 40,000.  That is only FIVE PERCENT of his army.  Why? Because God delivers through weakness.  He doesn't need mighty armies, He needs faith.
  • Joshua 23:10-11 reads, "One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as He has promised.  So be very careful to love the Lord your God." What a promise!  But don't forget that this promise is conditional upon our love of the Lord.  Put Him first and all else will fall by the wayside.
  • Judges 4-- Deborah and Barak take only ten percent of their army into battle.  They trust that God is on their side (and they win).
  • Judges 7-- God tells Gideon to narrow down in army until he only has 300 men, ONE percent of his original army.  Taking only 300 men into battle against leaves no room for a lack of faith.
  • God promises to the Israelites (if they are obedient) in Leviticus 26:8, "Five of you will chase a hundred, a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you."  Notice that that is only one percent. 
So what is the message?  Be fruitful. Look at how God takes care of his children. Our speaker gave us this "equation":
1% of your best + 100% faith + 100% obedience= God delivers us despite our weaknesses
You might think that this is the stuff of fairy tales.  Maybe God did seemingly impossible deeds back then, but you don't see it in your life today.  However, I one-hundred percent believe that God still moves mountains in our lives.  Bear fruit, because Jesus says when we do, we will be given what we ask.  

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. - John 16:33

1 comment:

  1. :) This has been a topic of "convergence" in my life. Every time I turn around I read or hear something about this. Great post!