So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. Colossians 1:9-10
Glen, my father-in-law, has to be the most "frugal" person I know. He's always looking for ways to skirt the system, especially when it comes to the one checked bag rule that most airlines have in place. He packs everything in one bag, and I mean everything. Yet, somehow he manages to get the luggage to weigh exactly fifty pounds and therefore avoid the overweight baggage charge. Helping to get his suitcase from the car into the house is the equivalent of a Cross Fit class.
Earlier this summer he came to visit us here in North Carolina. To my surprise, he brought two bags on this trip, which caused my back to tighten up just by looking at them. It also made me wonder what was so valuable that he'd splurge and pay money to bring it across the coast.
After we hauled everything in, gave hugs and welcomed each other, Glenn opened one of the suitcases. I kid you not, it was filled full of ripe, green avocados. For the entire time he visited, we feasted like kings and had plenty left over.
These delicious treats came straight off the trees that line his home in California. The harvest that it produced was so plentiful, Glenn couldn't keep them all for himself. If he did, most of them would rot and decay. Instead, he gave his fruit (yes, it's a fruit) to friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family for them to enjoy and savor.
The transformation taking place inside of our heart should be handled much the same way. The hope we've experienced was never meant to be kept to ourselves, but rather given away to those around us. Being planted in Christ produces fruit for others to enjoy (Galatians 5:22-23).
It's very easy to lose sight of this truth, especially when the church uses phrases like "my walk" and what God is doing "in me." When we turn a relationship with Christ into merely a self-help system with religious language sprinkled through it, we cheapen the freedom we're offered and squander opportunities for impact.
We don’t understand the devastating effect this causes in our hearts. Our soul shrinks or expands to the size of our greatest concern. If our highest value remains ourselves and what God can do for us, our soul becomes minuscule and unusable. We might have a full stomach, but we'll spend our days with an empty heart. All the fruit withers and goes to waste.
Fruit must be cultivated through living out our faith with humility and courage so those around us benefit. God always does something in us so He can do something through us. This is where God stretches us and molds us into His image. By giving ourselves away, we gain so much more. Not only are others are nourished, but we are left satisfied.
- Would you say your soul is shrinking or expanding? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
- What fruit is being produced in your life? How can you use what God is doing in your heart to influence others?
God, let me not be so wrapped up in my little world that I lose sight of how You are moving around me. Provide me with eyes to see the needs of others. Give me the courage to step into those places and be used. Let everything I do point others to the hope I have found in You. Work in my heart while I play a small part in doing Your redemptive work in this world. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.