AUDIO MESSAGE —
The book of Psalms begins with a beautiful picture of what a person’s life would look like if it were truly rooted and grounded in Christ. The picture is of a thriving tree planted along the banks of a river. Let’s read what it says…
Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
Whenever I read this scripture I can’t help but glance outside the windows of my house at the orchards of peach trees that surround me. It’s early spring and the trees today are not showing much signs of life yet. But I know by mid May they will be bursting with beautiful pink blossoms that will turn into the juicy, fresh fruit to pick up at our local farmer fruit stands in late August. It would be easy today, looking at a orchard of sticks to be discouraged and wonder what fruit could ever come from this.
There are seasons of life that seem very fruitful to us. But there are other seasons… seasons of hurt, pain, disappointment and confusion, when it’s easy to look at the disaster around us and wonder if anything good could ever come from this.
In difficult seasons of life we begin to question everything.
We question God and begin to wonder if he is really the kind and loving Father we need him to be. We question if he is truly faithful and working on our behalf even though we can’t see what he is doing. We question his activity in our lives and wonder if he sees and cares about our situation and if hears our cries. We question ourselves too. We wonder if somehow there’s something we’ve done wrong to cause our current state of calamity. All of which is just lies the enemy would love for us to believe about God, his Kingdom and His people.
What fruit could ever come from this?
Well let’s think about this for a minute… What kind of fruit are you looking for? When we think about fruitful seasons of life we often think of having an abundance of blessings and victories, joy filled days and peace in all our relationships. That sounds life a fruitful life, doesn’t it. But I would have to push back on that idea a bit because I don’t think it’s the fruitful life the bible talks about at all.
If we look at the Israelites and their journey from the promises given to Abraham, to slavery in Egypt, their great exodus under the direction of Moses, their wilderness journey and their season of victory in the promised land, which season would you deem the most fruitful? Most of us would immediately say that the victorious overtaking of the promised land, under the Godly leadership of Joshua, was the most fruitful season for the Israelites… but I don’t think so. I believe the most fruitful season for the Israelites was in the wilderness.
It was in the wilderness that this beautiful nation of people learned how to trust God. It was in the wilderness that he was working to produce in them the things they would need in order to bring them into the next season of bounty and blessing. It was in the wilderness that the character of God became real to them and they learned about his love, goodness and kindness towards his own people. Even though the wilderness was a hard season, it was the most fruitful season because it produced a people who had developed what it would take to sustain them in the next season.
During this difficult season in your life, God may just be working to produce something in you that will sustain you in the coming seasons.
The fruit that we should be looking for isn’t blessing and bounty, but rather it is the fruit of righteous character. Throughout the bible God never deemed prophecy, miracles, provision or blessing as fruit. But what he did take note of, what seemed to be most important to him, was faith, integrity and strength of character.
Philippians 1:11 NLT
May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
I hold firm to this belief… that it would be unloving and irresponsible for God to pour out His favor and blessing if we don’t have the character to sustain it. We would crumble under the weight of it all in our selfish arrogance and pride. Little by little he uses our life experiences to shape us into people of his nature and character so that we can move into seasons where we can carry his blessing and anointing in an ever increasing capacity.
We often want the blessings and favor of God in our life, but we don’t want to do the hard work of allowing him to produce righteous character in us first.
Here’s a simple fact of life… fruit takes time to develop. The juicy peaches I get to bite into in August begin as the tiny buds I can see today just beginning to emerge. Today it looks desolate and feels like the fruit is a long way off, but with a little patience and perseverance, the harvest will come.
We must learn to trust the character of God when we can’t see the activity of God.
If that’s you today, if you feel like you can’t see how any fruit is being developed in this season, can I encourage you to lean into the process, ask God to reveal his activity and trust him with the outcomes. One of the greatest temptations we all face is the temptation to quit… please don’t quit. Hold on. A new season is coming where you will get to enjoy all the benefits and blessing of being faithful to hold on in this season.
I shared this message recently at my home church. Enjoy!!
Brenda Drost is a Pastor and Speaker who is known for her warm smile and passionate preaching style. Whether she is teaching at her home church or out on the road, she loves to bring challenging messages that actually help people live out their faith in the real world. She and her husband live on their farm in the beautiful Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada where they have raised their four children. Find out more about Brenda here.