Wednesday, April 15, 2015

After the Weeding: the Growth of Spiritual Fruit

If you haven't, read part one here.

Spiritual weeding catalyzes growth and produces joy.

Frequently "joy" is not the first thing that comes to mind when we consider the daily grind of life and fighting the sin in our hearts. If the fruit of weeding out our sin produces eternal rewards, why don’t we often find joy in doing it?

Because it’s costly.

And it’s humbling.

Weeding out sin involves giving up a right to something: the right to hold a grudge, respond in anger, withdraw in fear, blame our circumstances, manipulate to control, or get back at someone. It means I have to see my sin as my biggest and deepest problem. Honestly, I’d prefer to blame someone else other than myself for my problems.

Sometimes I get stuck in the here-and-now and wonder if obeying God is really bringing about eternal fruit. The truth is, while weeds grow quickly, real fruit grows slowly. It takes cultivating and watering. Consider the sowing and reaping principle in Galatians 6:

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Real fruit comes long after after the sowing of the seed. Similarly, this the case in our spiritual lives; we don’t immediately see the fruit of faithful prayer and Scripture reading, of putting off sin, or of running after righteousness. This is why it's tempting to grow weary; because the work is intense, and we don't always see the fruit.

But isn't this exactly where God can work—at the point of desperation, when we feel like our attempts at fighting sin are faltering and our work is in vain?

This is why we need Christ. We need His power to that we might do the hard work of weeding out sin. But we need His grace just as much after the weeding, that we might consistently sow to the Spirit and bear fruit. This is where we must remind ourselves daily of our need of the gospel, of the cleansing that comes through Jesus Christ, and the power that enables us to do what He commands. In this He is glorified, as we bear much fruit and prove that we are, indeed, His disciples. (Jn. 15:8)

So don't give up in your fight against sin. Don't neglect to sow to the Spirit. As Paul prayed, may we be "...filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." (Phil. 1:11) 

One day the hard work will be a mere shadow of the past, and as we see God face to face, we will know it was all worth it. 


No comments: