How to Bear Fruit for the Gospel
When we see the words of Jesus unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and die, it remains but a single grain. We can take that as his proclamation of this death and we would not be wrong. However, there is more there as there is always more.
I wonder if we are not going through a period in our world where there is a lot of shaking up going on. I often tell you that I used to preach that we as a church went through a difficult time over the last twenty years because trouble was coming and God needed to prepare his church. Now trouble is here. However, is it possible that we also needed and still need some shaking up?
Let me give you an example:
We can ask the simple question why did Jesus die on the Cross and the simple answer will be for our sins. However, that is only partially true. Yes, Jesus died on the cross for our sins however the other reason why Jesus died on the cross was that he was committed to fulfilling the Father’s not his own will.
Remember in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus begged for that cup to pass him by, but not his will done but the Father’s? It was in that exact that moment that he was the grain of wheat that died. Because he died, he bore much fruit. You might ask, how did he die? He did not die until after three hours on the cross. That moment in the Garden was when he completely died to self.
The saints tell us that if we want to bear much fruit for the Gospel we must embrace God’s will in our lives even if it is difficult for us. An exercise they encourage us to do is to praise God for all things in our lives good and bad.
When everything is going well, praise God and when everything is going poorly, praise God it is then that you are embracing a full trust in God.
I wonder if the shaking up is not still happening in our Church to encourage us to do exactly that embrace fully God’s will.
Are we teaching enough of that side of spirituality? If we truly want to be a prophetic church, if we truly want to be holy as a parish, if we truly want to build holy families and a holy community, we must begin with saying to the Lord as we do in the Our Father: “May your will be done.”
The most difficult time to praise God bears the greatest fruit!
This is most difficult when everything is going wrong. Anyone can do it when everything is going right. When things go wrong, for us to praise God and ask for His grace takes true and heroic faith. However, that is the faith to which we are called. That is faith that moves mountains. That is the faith that brought forth the fruit of Jesus’ death on the Cross which was his resurrection and our salvation.
When we die to our own will and ask God for the grace to accept His will in our lives, we become a whole new people.
We have to be careful. Occasionally, in my work with Canção Nova TV, both in Brazil and here I have to adjust some words to help them communicate their thoughts properly to an American audience.
Once someone was going to preach to an American audience that we need to give up our dreams. I said no, you cannot say that to an American audience, the whole point of America is to pursue your dreams.
I knew what she actually meant, what she meant is that you have to allow God control of your dreams so that he blesses them in ways beyond your imagination. That is what we have to do.
You cannot give up your dreams that would be crazy for an American to do, but you can ask God to bless them and allow you to pursue them as he wants. You will end up where he would want you. It will be beyond your imagination when making your original plans. So, you see, it is not that you give up your dreams to follow Christ, you give up your plans to fulfill your dreams and let God create the plans, then hold on to your seat for it will be a wild ride.
This is what Jesus is talking about, this is what the saints teach. If you thank God for everything that happens in your life both good and bad, you will see your life differently than if you just consider the good is a sign of God’s blessing and the bad is a sign of God’s curse. Jesus demonstrates this and later we see it, as I said in the Garden of Gethsemane.
This is the reason, I discourage fighting the mask mandate. Trust in God and you will see far greater things happen beyond the solution to a virus. Somethings already are happening
However, no matter what happens, do your best to thank God for the good and the bad. Try this today. Take an inventory of everything going on in our life, the good and the bad and then praise God for each one separately. That includes praising God for your difficulties. You may even feel ridiculous doing it but do it. Keep doing it on a daily basis and watch what happens. You are letting go of the results and then turning them over to the Lord and embracing God’s will in your life. You are becoming a grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies to self. you will bear much fruit.
Photo by Steve Carter on Unsplash