I was walking through Fashion Valley mall the other day on a mission to get into a store, make my purchase and get out. While walking through the mall I saw some activists abducting people from their shopping experience to explain about a political issue and attempting to convince the abductees to sign their petition. I rolled my eyes and began to form my harsh, curt, angry rebuttal that would most assuredly cause them to shew me away. Thank God I was able to avoid these people by moving around the mall like a pinball bouncing through the greatest pinball machine (and quadrupling the distance walked for my simple shopping trip). I successfully completed my mission and as I was driving home glorying in my successful reconnaissance shopping mission I felt the whisper of God on my heart, “You are my feet on the ground and deliver my goodness on earth, what fruit were you preparing to give these people? Sweet fruit comes from me.” Ouch, I immediately understood that I not only missed the opportunity to love and engage in Kingdom business, but I had agreed with humanistic ways of evil to protect myself. I had prepared my defense before considering what would have been God’s heart in the matter.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. (John 15:5-9 NKJV)
A vine can not bear fruit except through it’s leafy branches, the vine brings the water and nutrients out of the ground and up to the branches which flower and produce fruit. The main stalk does not produce the fruit but the branches that are connected to it produces the fruit. The fruit productivity depends on the connection to the main vine and those branches produce the type of fruit according to the vine they are connected.
God is the vine and we are His leafy branches that are meant to bear His fruit on earth. He created us and he uses us to complete His will on earth and I will step over the invisible theological line and say that He needs us to bear his fruit. Even though God is all powerful He chooses to work through us, dispense His love through us and use us as representatives of His heavenly Kingdom here on earth. As we connect deeply with Him through spending time with Him in prayer, reading, art, writing, building, counseling, listening for His voice, loving others, etc. we begin to produce His fruit. What is this fruit? It is the fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Gal 5:22-23a ESV)
When someone, anyone, encounters us they should taste these attributes, even when someone bites us they should taste these attributes. A fruit can not change its taste because it doesn’t like its consumer and we are called to do the same, bear the fruit of God (the Spirit) in all situations.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalms 34:8 ESV)
When we are “bitten” by people, when we are encountered, when we are in a difficult situation, the other involved parties must taste and see that God is good through us. Tasting God’s goodness through us reveals His true heart of love and only happens when we are connected to the true vine. When connected to the true vine we give people what they truly want, the supernatural love and acceptance of God, not the natural judgement and rejection of man.
My attitude toward the activists at the mall did not come through the Father’s love and my thoughts were not connected to the true vine. I was in need of an attitude change, a repentance of thoughts, a metanoia* of mind that would cause me to see, act and love like the Father. I was prepared to deliver sour fruit out of protection and that was tied into a vine of fear (of losing time) and not tied into God’s vine of love. I realized I did not need to have a rebuttal or an explanation for these activists but just a loving demeanor (not a fake smile) and either a “no thanks” or possibly a God moment with them.
Finally I suggest that you ask of yourself the same question I ask myself, “What do people taste when they get a hold of me and what vine does it come from?” We must taste like the vine we are tied into, the tree/vine of life, the vine of love, the vine of Father God.
Everyone on earth knows the difference between sweet fruit and sour fruit. Everyone on earth knows the difference between true love and fake smile on a religious spirit.
*Metanoia- a Greek word “to change ones mind”