by Dr. Charles Stanley
Friday December 31, 2004
Fruit, More Fruit, Much Fruit
I lived for a while in the North Carolina mountains, in a place called Fruitland. The area got that name because it was - and still is - apple country. I went to visit a member of my church there, and his wife told me he was out in the orchard pruning trees. So I walked out to watch. Not knowing any better, I said, "Man, you're going to kill that tree." He turned to look at me and said, "You stick to preaching. I'll take care of the pruning."
Later I learned that to get a good crop, the branches had to be pruned. It's a lesson I have never forgotten because it also applies to our spiritual lives. Sometimes we argue with God when bad times hit and we are hurting. We think He must not love us if He would allow these things to happen. But what God is doing is pruning us so we will bear quality fruit, then pruning us again for more fruit, and finally pruning us for much fruit. If you let a branch continue growing without cutting it back, lots of little shoots will emerge from it and draw away life-giving sustenance.
Little things in life can be like those shoots, thwarting our fruitfulness: sometimes our kindness depends on how we feel when we wake up in the morning; we might let a bad habit develop; or we allow our peace to get wrapped up in our circumstances. But if accept God's pruning with the right attitude, the Holy Spirit's sap will nurture the fruit in our life.
Need gift ideas? The 2004 In Touch Christmas Catalog is here. Visit the In Touch online bookstore for more information.
Teen Connection is the official teen outreach of In Touch Ministries. Be sure to tell your teen about this cutting-edge web site filled with practical content for teenagers of all spiritual maturity levels. The featured interview for December is best-selling singer/songwriter Bebo Norman. Check out Teen Connection today!