Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bearing fruit?

The two topics I brought up last week have continued to be on my mind.

-- "Bear Fruit or Else."
-- "Am I praying or just wishing?"

When I think of the fruit I think I should be bearing, I don't think I'm being very productive. My to-do list gets longer and longer, not helped by the fact that I'm getting more and more behind on even routine things. The parable of a garden owner, the garden keeper and a fig tree within it in Luke 13:6-9 could really discourage me. If God gave me a deadline for getting my act together in terms of physical and material things, organization, getting stuff done, being efficient, etc., I'd be doomed. But fortunately Scripture also draws me to Galatians 5:22, where the fruits of the spirit are listed: Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Do those fruits really matter more than a clean house, efficient use of money and time, getting things done or producing results? That thought gives me hope, because I do see evidence of those fruits in my life as I continue to read the Bible and pray to know and do God's will.

The other thing I've been very aware of recently is the idea of whether sometimes my prayers are really just wishes. In the same way the concept of bearing fruit forces me to consider what kind of fruit matters, the idea of prayers versus wishes makes me contemplate the meaning of each. I realize that, for me, wishing is magical. I want things to be different automatically, just because I want it. I don't want to have to work for it. Or I just want to be magically transformed into having the willingness and ability to do what it takes. On the other hand, I realize that my concept of praying is communicating with God and seeking to surrender my will to Him. This isn't magical. It usually involves action on my part, although it doesn't have to. God does perform miracles and lavishes me with love and mercy and grace and blessings that sometimes seem magical. But such things can always be traced to the hand of a faithful, loving, merciful, sovereign, holy God.

It's worthwhile for me to make sure my prayers are really prayers and not just wishes. That also helps keep me attuned to the source of all my blessings and to praise God in all things.

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