A Word for the Week

'Fruitful faith'--That is the desire of our Father in heaven.

James would remind us that faith without fruit (works) is dead. James 2:17

Jesus would illustrate this truth in Luke 13:6 as He told a parable of a "man who had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it and did not find any."

It is important that we understand that this fig tree did not have some fruit, this fig tree had no fruit. There must first be fruit before the fruit can be described as good or bad. This tree had used the hidden resources that sustain life to produce foliage but no fruit. It could be said of this particular tree that is was beautiful to look at barren of purpose. When you think about it, that tree describes many church members today. They are beautiful in appearance and void of purpose (His purpose) that endures beyond this life.

The Lord God of heaven expects His children to be fruitful. Our purpose is not to use the hidden resources of life to focus on being beautiful in appearance but rather to be a blessing and benefit to others.

Without fruit, we are simply using what God provides for our own temporal purpose and in the process just taking up space. It is at that point that God, the gardener comes and begins the process of pruning. God prunes the dead areas of our life through His removal of things and our repentance toward Him to promote new growth that produces fruit that is useful and beneficial. The process of pruning is most usually very painful but under the patient and purposeful hand of our Father, something worth while is produced.

Jesus said in John 15:1-2--"I (Jesus) am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch IN ME that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

Author Boyd Bailey refers to the process of pruning as God using 'the shears of suffering'. God, the gardener uses the shears of suffering to promote growth and produce fruitful faith. That includes taking the dead and diseased areas away but it also includes taking some of the good away in order that we might produce the best. God doesn't prune to hurt us. God prunes to help us fulfill His purpose. God doesn't prune to make us miserable. God prunes in order to make us useful.

Should we resist His process of cutting away 'the deadness' in our life, we run the real risk of losing His favor. The decision to respond with anger or bitterness toward His purpose of pruning means that some settle for a fruitless faith and become satisfied with using the hidden resources of life to take up space.

Is the kind of faith that you are demonstrating producing anything of worth for others? Is your kind of faith consistently serving others or is it just sustaining your appearance?

Just a reminder:

Faith that produces fruit enjoys the favor of God's blessing, both here and hereafter.

Faith that produces no fruit doesn't; both here and hereafter.

Would you permit God to fertilize your faith today and cause something wonderful to occur? Are you willing to trust His heart when you don't understand or even agree with what He permits to be pruned out of your life?

It's not that hard to understand BUT it can be extremely hard to embrace.

Whatever God decides 'to prune' in life this year, remember His love, grace and mercy always desires the best in you, for you and through you.

May God give us eyes to see beyond what's superficial and hearts that embrace what's supernatural in 2018!

God's best to each of you this week!

Pastor Keith

1 Corinthians 15:58