While I wait God is blessing me so much with His word. We learn so much about God and how He works when we read His word. But we also learn about ourselves. Sometimes learning about ourselves means God is shining a light on something within us that needs adjusting.
Yesterday was the start of a light on me. Today it continues.
Do you know what is in John 15? It's a great chapter. Jesus is talking about us bearing fruit for Him; living in Him as the vine and we are the branches. He even says "You didn't choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you."
He chose us to bear fruit.
I've been reading this passage for years. I've believed it. I've felt it -- that God chose me so I would bear fruit for Him. Earlier in the chapter Jesus says, "By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples . . . These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be made full."
I can't say this chapter ever gave me a lot of joy. It has given me comfort and hope and security but never joy. For I read this with an obligation feeling -- that it was good to bear fruit because that was what I was supposed to do. I saw the fruit as obligatory, a duty.
And yes, it is but it is so much more than that.
When we read scripture passages through the eyes of obligaton or duty, we miss the joy. We miss the life of it. A sense of duty will not be joyful. A sense of duty doesn't give life.
When an apple tree bears apples, those apples are the evidence of life and worship. In a sense (this may sound weird to some) the apples are the apple's trees worship of God. Pears are the pear tree's praise to God. When fruit trees flourish they are healthy and happy and beautiful. They are fulfilling their purpose.
I am having a hard time expressing the feeling within me. I will just write what I wrote in my journal below:
"it is the apple tree's delight to bear apples! It is the vine's delight to bear grapes. And I will bear fruit in a Jane way. I will have Jane fruit like an apple tree has apple fruit."
The fruit God causes to be born in your life will be unique to you. The fruit is the Fruit of the Spirit but it is also more than that. It is your life. It is God's Spirit filtered through His child. The fruit you bear will be you. It will be you fully alive in the Spirit living out the purpose you were created for. And this is joy. Jesus tells us this stuff to give us hope and direction. In John Jesus tells us He came to give us "abundant life."
An abundant life is full of joy and love and hope and purpose. Can you sense the joy in all this? I hope so.