Summary: As we grow, as we learn the world around us and experience life in its manifold facets, we are expected to produce fruit of the highest quality - fruit that will resemble our Creator, fruit that Christ expects from us.
BEAR FRUIT AND LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE
Each of us is planted as a seed of highest quality – created in the very image of God – created by God.
As we grow, as we take root in this soil, learn the world around us and experience life in its manifold facets, we are expected to produce fruit of the highest quality. Fruit that will resemble our Creator, fruit that Christ not only expects from us, but has taught us, fruit that the Holy Spirit is willing to bestow upon us – love, joy peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22).
But the question remains. Am I able to produce such a fruit in my life?
When God looked at the Israelites, he was burdened when he saw their waywardness and unfaithfulness. And he cries out
I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine? Jeremiah 2:21
He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. Isaiah 5:2
The rest of Isa ch 5 portrays God’s agony over the Israelites.
There was injustice in the society with the rich getting richer and subsequently the poor becoming poorer. Righteousness had lost its meaning. People rejoiced in strong drinks. There were music and celebrations, but without God. Deceitfulness and wickedness raised their ugly heads. Evil was considered good and good evil. Justice was denied to the innocent. Bribe won the race. People were wise - in their own eyes.
The books of Isaiah and Jeremiah outwardly might look like the words of the prophets to the then nation of Israel, but look deeply; they have equal significance in today’s world.
Does God agonize over us and over our society today?
There had never been a time in history when people of God didn’t need this warning, ‘Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world’ (Romans 12:2). But the nation of Israel was not willing to heed to this word.
They were tempted to imitate the customs and practices of the nations and people around them, although they knew it was against the God they knew and worshipped. They were okay to even out with the world around them and subsequently they allowed their souls to sink away from God. Eventually, their hearts became dull to God’s warnings and nothing seemed to bother them at all. And the result was an evil society that loved riches more than people and darkness more than light!
Paul’s warning in Romans 12:2 sounds good to us today too. In a world whose views are radically different from ours, are we able to reflect and imitate Christ in their midst. Are we able to bear fruit that our Savior expects from us? Are we able to let our light shine amidst this dark and broken world?
When life poses challenges and when living gets harder, we often miss the mark. Bearing fruit becomes difficult and secondary. But let me encourage you, bearing fruit and living a life pleasing to God is not impossible. Jer 17:7 and 8 point out to the fact that despite every storm and every drought, you’ll not cease yielding fruit if the Lord is your trust.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7,8