I’d like to share something with you that I stumbled across a few moths ago, which has blessed me. There is a program that airs on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) called, The Stranger. The series is listed as a seven episode mini-serial of stories about modern day encounters with the Son of God, based on events from the New Testament. ( Please visit their site if you would like to get more information or purchase copies.)
The clip that I am posting is close to my heart. Before the Lord saved me I questioned why Christians thought Jesus was the only way. I will omit the details that led to finding that answer for the brevity of this article. However, I feel led to share a devotional by Joni Eareckson Tada, which to me, beautifully holds hands with the clip.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
– Galatians 5:22–23
It’s impossible to manufacture the fruit of the Spirit such as love and peace, gentleness and kindness. You can paint a veneer of joy and put up a facade of self-control, but invariably you will be found out. You can only deceive yourself and others for so long with false love and plastic peace.
Fake fruit comes from self-effort. It’s like growing grapes the wrong way around. First you find a cluster of white Concords and fasten them to the branches of the vine. From there, you tie roots to the trunk and dig a hole, setting the entire thing into the ground. There you have it, manufactured fruit (and incidentally, fruit that will rot quickly). What you have done is put first the fruit; second, the branches; third the root; and fourth, the soil.
God grows genuine fruit in the opposite order. First He plants the seed of His Word in the soil of our heart. The Spirit quickens us and causes the Word to take root in our soul. Next, as we grow in the Lord, the vine and branches mature until sweet and satisfying fruit clusters in abundance. Genuine fruit comes from abiding in the Vine.
“No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
Lord, I confess that I try to bear fruit by myself, forcing self-control, reminding myself to be good and kind, often painting a smile of joy and putting on a pretense of peace. Forgive me for all this manufactured fruit in my life. May I abide in Your Word and keep step with Your Spirit today.… I look forward to the sweet and satisfying fruit You will produce in my life.
Joni and Friends
Taken from Diamonds in the Dust. Copyright © 1993 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530