THE SOIL OF THE SOUL AND THE FRUIT OF THE VINE
Do you enjoy the fruit of the vine? The vine I am talking about is the grape vine. Do you enjoy grapes? The taste of grape jams and jellies are delicious? I think about some members of my family, who prefer grape juice over orange juice, no matter what. Then there are some people who enjoy a glass of wine with their dinner meal
Every vineyard owner and caretaker knows the importance of the soil to maintain good quality plants for the production of grapes. Grapes come in clusters. Every vineyard keeper and homemaker knows that not all the grapes in a cluster are the same size or quality. The same is true with the fruit of the Spirit.
Now there are certain similarities in our lives as believers. Read these words of Jesus in John 15:1-8.
- Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”
- “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.”
In Galatians 5:22, which will become the foundation for our meditations for the next several months, we read. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
The Spirit of Jesus Christ flows in and through our lives, depending of course, on our obedience to abide in Him through His Word. Does the Word of God find a consistent and regular place in the soil of your heart, mind and soul?
The fruit of God's Spirit “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control,” is like a cluster of grapes. You cannot have one without having the whole cluster. The first grape / characteristic, we are going to look at in this cluster of God's fruit in our lives, is love.
Without love, we cannot know the rest of the individual fruits in the cluster. Love is of God, the person who truly knows God, knows His Love. Read 1st John 4:7-10, “Love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Love for the Lord and His grace and mercy towards us in Jesus Christ is at the heart of knowing God's Spirit in our lives.” Without love we are nothing. “Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I Cor. 13:13.
We know and experience love in our lives, only to the degree and extent to which we know the love and life of God through faith and obedience to Jesus Christ. The characteristic attitude and action of a person's life, who knows the love and life of God is selflessness. I have paraphrased how W. Phillip Keller describes it in his book entitled A Gardener Looks at the Fruits of the Spirit.
- It is self-giving.
- It is self-sacrificing.
- It is self-abandonment.
- It is self-sharing.
- It is self-losing.
- It is self-serving others.
Human beings cannot know and experience the love and life of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, unless a person “complies with His wishes, carries out His commands, cooperates with His desires,” with a single hearted, loving obedience to Him.
- This love alone is the most potent power on the face of the earth.
- This love alone destroys prejudices, racism and bigotry.
- This love alone creates faithfulness, loyalty and enduring allegiances.
- This love alone creates peace and reconciliation.
- This love alone builds strong Godly marriages and families.
- This love alone creates and sustains beneficial and loyal friendships.
- This love alone is the foundation for generous, bountiful giving.
- This love alone causes people to gladly serve and die for others.
- This love alone can prompt spontaneous unreserved delight and joy.
Striving to live and Serve in the Lord’s Love,
Pastor Perry DeGroot