Bearing fruit

God uses many natural occurrences in order to teach us spiritual principles. One of these is spiritual growth. In nature, growth happens because a plant has its roots anchored in a solid substance (like ground), and because it receives nourishment and water from this substance. In a previous post I spoke about the truth about spiritual growth, and that it does not depend on your actions but on what Christ has already accomplished on the cross. Being rooted in THIS truth, and making Jesus our sole focal point will result in the most natural spiritual growth, the way God intended it to be.

“Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.” Col 2:7

“And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].” Ps 1:3

Don’t attempt to bear fruit out of your own effort. If you are not naturally fed through the substance of Christ, your own efforts will result in burn-out and failed human attempts. God’s way is always the best way. His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt 11:30), because bearing fruit will come without your intervention if you stay rooted in Christ, and what He has already accomplished for you.

The truth about spiritual growth

I used to believe that the responsibility of my growth as a Christian rested on my own shoulders.  I was told that certain steps needed to be followed, or specific courses needed to be completed in order for me to become more spiritually mature.  I believe this misconception is the biggest cause of burnout in the church today.

The truth (which we don’t often hear) is that Jesus is the one responsible for our spiritual growth.  There are two verses that come to mind:

“And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” Phil 1:6

And then the most convincing:

“Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].” Heb 12:2

How can anyone claim that we are in charge of our own spiritual growth if they read the above-mentioned verses?  All that remains for us is to look away from all that will distract (our own efforts and struggles to become more holy) unto Jesus, who will finish the work He started in us.  This means a lifetime of getting to know Him – a lifetime of simplicity – a single focus.