by Jeff Petrie
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. (John 15:1-4a NIV)
In the parable of the Vine and the Branches as told by Jesus, we are taught that a branch that produces no fruit is of little use. As believers in Christ, we are given the power of the Holy Spirit to produce fruit which is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control". (Gal 5:22b-23 NIV)
If fruit of the spirit is not evident in our lives, we are not allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us, and we are failing to recognize God's divine presence that dwells within us and is eager to reveal Himself to the world.
In producing fruit in our lives, we need not master all that God has commanded us to do at once. Just as a new baby struggles in its first attempts to crawl, when we are born again in Christ, our ability may not match our desire to be fruitful. But as the parable is told by Jesus, we learn that if we are persistent in our efforts, God will prune away the sins which hinder us so we may become even more fruitful, revealing the glory, power and love that is found in Jesus to those around us.
Our relationship with God is not only one of being aware of what evil we do, but also being aware of the good we don't do. The good things we are called to do are not to be done only when it is convenient for us, but at all times. Just as we are called to be constantly aware of temptations and sin in our lives, we are also called to pursue the fruits of the spirit.
The sin of omission is just as harmful to our spiritual well being as the sins we know not to do.
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, ..." (Matt 5:14-16a NIV)
Once we have accepted Christ into our lives, our salvation is complete. We can be confident that a time will come when we will enjoy an eternity in paradise. We are called to let the joy that we have found in Christ shine upon the world. As a radiant point of light, the fruits of the spirit should be most visible by those who are closest to us and should be seen by all who look our way.
Author's note: While writing this, it occurred to me that the fruits of the spirit cost no money, and require no additional time commitments to produce. So, what's your excuse?
THE SIN OF OMISSION
Margaret E. Sangster
It isn't the thing you do dear,
The tender word forgotten,
The stone you might have lifted
The loving touch of the hand, dear,
Those little acts of kindness
They come in night and silence,
For life is all to short, dear,
And it isn't the thing you do, dear,
All scripture quotations are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV) except as noted.
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