An online friend of mine, Mark Stevens, on his blog talks about both God and gardening – I guess that is why his blog is called ‘The Parsons Patch’. It is an interesting link, as the Bible talks a lot about farming and fruit.
Now, I am a terrible gardener, but I know some basics. First you need a seed or a small plant. Then you need something for it to grow in – like soil. Then you need things like nutrients, water, sun, and more to end up with something that will give you a harvest……. eventually.
Just like when I dabble in gardening (and fail miserably), and wonder where the fruit has gone, sometimes I wonder in my life if I am being useful as much as I could be. Sometimes I wonder – where is the fruit in my life? When this happens, how can I answer myself? Or if a friend asks and needs encouragement, what can I say?
2 Peter 1:5–10 (HCSB)
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins.
Just like a plant needs all of the things above, we need certain things too. And we have been promised – right here – that if we have these things, and they are increasing in our lives, we will not be useless or unfruitful. So in a nutshell, there it is!
First comes faith. Without faith in God and the work of Jesus, we are still in our sins and aren’t anywhere! But faith alone is not enough to bring fruit. ‘Make every effort to supplement your faith’ – from here on we need to put some effort in ourselves!
Read the verses above again. If we take the time to look at these things, and add them to our lives, we will not be useless. We will not be without fruit. Maybe we cannot see the fruit of our labor, maybe we are the sower that plants the seed and then moves on (John 4:37-38). We don’t get to see the harvest, but we know we are not useless – because God has His divine hand upon us and is working His will with us.
So instead of looking outside of yourself today, and trying to judge whether you are doing the right thing before God by your fruit, look inside. Make every effort to add to your faith these things – knowledge, self control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and love. And know then that God will without a doubt be using you right now – whether you can see the results or not.