Have you ever wished you were more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kinder, faithful, gentle, self-controlled, or even filled with more goodness? Of course you have ! We all have! Those are the characteristics and depositions that we have marked as virtuous! These are also the descriptions for what we as Christians have called The Fruit Of The Spirit!
We all seems to want these virtues but we all seem to misunderstand how we attain them. They seems to be a hit and miss proposition. We seem to have some of them but rarely master all of them. So, what are we missing? What has eluded us that keeps us from experiencing these calm and peaceful dispositions of life?
In this important post I am going to talk about 7 important principles for developing the Fruit of the Spirit which should greatly help us turn them into a reality for our own lives. But before I get started listing the 7 principles let me point out these dispositions are a description of the "Fruit" not "Fruits". We are not talking about a lot of different fruits that needs to nurture - just ONE fruit. And it is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit becomes more and more implanted in our daily lives the fruit of the Spirit will become more and more evident. First the blossoms and then the fruit. So, in essence it is the Holy Spirit that needs to be nurtured in our lives if we are to attain those wonderful and lofty virtues. The stronger the Holy Spirit is implanted in our lives the more of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit will be evident in our lives!
According John 15 it is God the Father's responsibility, as the gardner, to prune us back for the the purpose bearing even more fruit. It is God who does the tending of the garden of our spiritual life so we can bear even more and more of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit or the Fruit of the Spirit. The process that God the Father uses is the "pruning process". This is a process where the gardener cuts back the branches so that they are able to bear even more fruit. The only way to become more fruitful and to have more of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit is for God the Father to prune us or cut us back.
I don't know about you but that pruning process sure doesn't really seem to be a very pleasant experience. It sounds more painful than pleasurable! I know it will be a productive process (bearing more fruit) but not necessarily a fun process!
Nothing to it! Right? Well let's see!
7 Important Principles To Prepare Us For The Father's Pruning Process
#1: You Don't Have A Say In Whether You Get Pruned Or Not That's God's Decision.
I know we would all like to think we have a say in whether we participate in the pruning process or not but the truth is we don't. In John 15 Jesus said that "every" branch that bears fruit the Father prunes so that it will bear even more fruit. No branch is excluded! God the Father will prune back all the branches that are already bearing fruit for the purpose of making them bear even more fruit. All of them - not just some of them!
Now don't think that if you decide to stop bearing fruit that God will leave you alone. He won't! John 15 also says that the Father cuts off all the branches that doesn't bear fruit and throws them into the fire. Here's the important thing to take away from this lesson! All branches are either going to be cut back or cut off but be sure of this all the branches are going to get cut!
#2: God May Even Use Satan To Prune You.
In looking at the example of Job we see that God can even use Satan as his pruning sheer! Now isn't that an interesting concept! Now understand Satan has as his objective to destroy your faith and your relationship with God but God's objective is to build your faith and make you even more fruitful.
Before Satan can do anything to you he first must get Gods permission. Satan cannot do anything behind God's back or without God's knowing and permission and Satan can only work within the conditions and limits that God, himself, has established. This should bring us tremendous amount of encouragement when we think of spiritual warfare. Even in spiritual warfare Satan can't do anything he wants, he can only do what God allows and when God allows it!
#3: The Pruning Process Will Be Painful & Difficult
But be sure of this that pruning process isn't a walk in the part or a picnic in a beautiful meadow! This pruning process will be and is a painful process. In looking at Job as our example the pruning process can include a loss of wealth; Property; health; and even life. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual pain are all involved in this process.
#4: The Pruning Process Will Come & Go.
Just like Ecclesiastes says, "There is a season for everything under heaven." and be sure of this there are season(s) of pruning! Yes, I did use the plural form which means there are more than one season of pruning that we will go through during our Christian growth. Times of pruning come and times of pruning go. But just remember the pruning process will come back around again.
#5: God Already Knows In Advance How You'll Respond To The Pruning Process.
In looking at Peter time of pruning found in Matthew 26:31-35 we learn that Jesus and God the Father already knows in advance what our response and outcome will be to the pruning process. Jesus told Peter straight up that before the rooster crows you will have denied me three times. Jesus knew the end result before it ever happened!
Here's what we can learn from this - there's never going to be a time when we do something during the pruning process that will catch God by surprise! You will never do something and then God smacks himself on the forehead and says, "Now I didn't see that one coming!". That will never happen. God already knows what you are going to do during the pruning process and he has provided for it.
#6: Jesus Is Interceding For Us During The Pruning Process.
In Luke's account of Jesus telling Peter he will deny him three times Jesus also says that He has prayed for Peter that his faith would be strengthened and that he could encourage others. Jesus said that he had prayed that Peter's faith would not fail him!
Most assuredly you faith is going to tested, stretched and feel like it is going to fail but understand this:
Jesus Is Praying For God The Father To Strengthen & Empower You.
Jesus, who is now our High Priest, is always before the thrown of God our Father interceding on your behalf and asking for the Father's added measure of Grace and Mercy to be bestowed upon you. NOW HOW COOL IS THAT!
#7: The End Result Of The Pruning Is More Fruit Of The Spirit & A Greater Blessing From God.
He was a blessing to his friends because he prayed for them and God forgave them because of Job and his prayer.
- God blessed Job by doubling what had been taken from him.
The blessing that Peter was to receive was a greater influence among the apostles as he would be an encouragement and strength to them.
And this is not to mention all the virtuous characteristics, Fruit of the Spirit, that both Job and Peter developed as a result of their pruning process. So, let us consider it all joy when we encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance. And let us allow endurance to have its full effect so we will be complete and lacking in nothing. Amen!
While the pruning process may not be an enjoyable season of life to go through the fruit and benefits that come as a result of it are amazing. It's like anything, no pain - no gain! No pruning - no fruit.