COMMUNITY

54730098_10218592822756772_3689364288650084352_o Awakened_arts 

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much” – Helen Keller.

I had started a very basic purple painted canvas on the first day of spring.
I asked my social media friends, to share what color they wanted on the picture, fully intending to see who matched what was on my mind for the painting. The interesting thing, everyone had a different idea for the secondary color than mine. As I stood and stared at the purple canvas, deciding which color I would pick, the name of the piece came to me, “Community”. 

This painting wasn’t about one or two solid ideas, but about combining the creativity of many into something of beauty. I took each color that my friends had suggested and I thought of them and prayed as I painted their color. I sought where the Lord would have them impact the piece and prayed for individual situations. A few friends had chosen teal, it didn’t matter, as I applied the color again, a new friend came to mind. Another, shared her idea for the technique to add dimension and direction. This was a wonderful example of community, each contributing, every individual uniqueness adding a new depth and detail as we collaborated. 

This piece alone reminded me of how important it is to be in community with one another. I could have said, ew I don’t like that color, it would never look right, but looking at this painting, it needed every single color whether at first, I thought it would belong or not. As I looked at the painting with each layer I was timid to place more colors, yet a sense of belonging came over me as I saw the work coming together. 

You would not know that two years ago, I had my self hidden away, shying away from the world, from being hurt, from being ignored and passed over. I had a horrible sense of my self. I had lost the knowledge of my worth somewhere on the journey of surviving grief and illness that had reared its ugly head like never before and the depression wanted to take over. In the past, I was swallowed by that depression. I cut everyone and everything off and literally wanted to die.

The amazing thing, this time, depression could not stay! While I started blocking people out of my life, there were the solid, the community that would not let me. There were the people who reminded me of who I am. There were the people that pointed out when I was being flat-out ridiculous and that I needed to stop identifying with what I was facing and start identifying on who God says I am. It was my community that picked me up and reminded me how much ground I have gained and even in this hiccup, it was safe to spread my wings and fly again. 

Community: A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Romans 12:5-
so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Do I always agree with everything they do? No. Do I enjoy every single personality within my community at every moment? No.  Do I share every single belief and value? No. 

Do I drive people in my community crazy at times? Ah, YAH! 

However, when in the community, despite our human differences we can choose to stay united with a common goal. Intentional to build together, to hold one another up by carrying each other’s burdens and remind each other there is hope in a sea of unknowns.

When the going gets tough, we can be tempted to run from our communities, but all that brings is isolation and loneliness, which in turn becomes bitterness and anger. I think this is why the Lord mentions not forsaking the gathering of our brethren. He knew that we needed far more than to hear our own voice whisper silently to the wind. 

Hebrews 10: 24-25-
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 
not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

 

 

Fruit of the Spirit

apple treeGalatians 5: 22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.

The word says we will know them by their fruit. I have had some amazing deposits in my life from fruit-bearing individuals. Life changing deposits that I am so very grateful for. Their lives are overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit.

 I have been asking lately, Lord what causes the others to not bear fruit?
( I was bearing fruit but it was rotting, that is in part 2)

I can see no outward appearance of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.
Outwardly there is hate instead of love, anger instead of joy, anxiety instead of peace, impatience instead of kindness, rudeness instead of goodness, judgment instead of gentleness and goodness, you get my point. But I was feeling as if I was judging them by looking for their fruit and God said you will KNOW them by their fruit of the Spirit.

So I said, okay Lord, what causes a person to not bear fruit when they are your child?
The Lord impressed on my heart to look at the fruit-bearing trees and address, what causes a tree not to bear fruit?

barren apple tree

Part One:

HELP THERE IS NO FRUIT!!!

  1. Immaturity– A fruit tree that is young will not bear fruit. There is a time of growth first.  For a new Christian, there is a learning and a growing season.
    The Lord will do the work in their lives, preparing them for fruit growth and that will require time with Him. Get to know the Holy Spirit and you will bear His fruit.
    1 Corinthians 3:1-2 

    Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly-mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

     

  2. Pollination– A fruit tree requires pollination. Some are self-pollinating and that would be us getting into the word for ourselves and spending time with the spirit our self (very important)
    But other trees are cross-pollinating, and they require others near them to pollinate, they require a community to help them grow. A community that walks in the fruit of the Spirit, pouring out and sharing what the Lord has done in them. I think we need to do both, self-pollination and cross-pollination are equally important.
    Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

  3. Zones– This is a big one for me personally. A fruit tree was created to flourish in certain zones (atmosphere). If a fruit tree is planted in the wrong zone, it may bear fruit but it will not flourish as it was intended to. So often I would stay where I was at because it was the easy thing to do. But if an environment is hindering my fruit production in my life, I have to look at the very real possibility that it is time for changing my zone.
    Also if an intense shift in your life has come (drought or freeze) it may be harder to bear fruit. This is a time to press into the Lord and let Him do the repair. This may be a season of great care for your Spirit but it may be a season of less visible fruit production. It is preparing you for more fruit in another season of your life.
    The Lord has a plan for our lives. It is so important to press in and ask, where will I best flourish Lord?
    Jeremiah 29: 11- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future.

  4. Pruning- A fruit tree will not be as productive without pruning by the hand of the gardener. Buds often form on limbs that have air circulation and light infiltration. By cutting off the old you are making room for air and light. By cutting off the things in your life that are holding you back from the Lord, you are available for the Holy Spirit to circulate and infiltrate your life.  This process can be very uncomfortable, as we often have grown attached to the things that need to be pruned from our lives, but it is absolutely necessary for fruit production.
    John 15:2- Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

  5.  Spacing- Fruit trees that are too close to one another, compete for light and nutrients. While the community is so very important to fruit-bearing for the Christian, relying upon and getting closer to one another than the father, can leave us lacking the depth of nutrients and light that we are in great need of.
    I can rely on my community, grow with my community and fellowship with the community, but if that community becomes my first or everything, then the Holy Spirit is not allowed the room He needs to maximize my growth. As well, this leaves us extremely vulnerable when the community lets us down, as we were leaning on the wrong source. We must have space and ABIDE in Him.
    John 15:5- “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.

  6. Soil Conditions- A fruitful tree needs fertile soil. This is the nutrients for growth. A Christians nutrients (food) is the word of God. You will not be properly fed without getting into Gods word for yourself. Not the word from others and how it has impacted them, but being impacted yourself. Lack of getting into the word leads to spiritual sickness.
    Matthew 4:4- But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

  7. Roots- In trees, nutrient reserves build up in the roots from the previous year. This is important for the continual growth of the next year. Hold fast to the word truths, Holy Spirit connection, and community that you have built on. Don’t let it fall to the wayside and be forgotten. You need those reserves to build upon.
    Psalm 119:11- I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 

The most important thing I have gathered in all of this. Stay so so close to the Lord, and He will lead you in His spirit and you will bear much fruit. ABIDE in Him.
Here is a worship song that spoke to my heart. Great is the Lord in Hebrew.

This has been part one of Fruit of the Spirit. I have been greatly blessed by the depth the Lord has taken me on in this post.
I will be posting part two (Why is my fruit Rotting) after I meditate on what He has shown me today.

I thank Stark Brother’s Nursery for their blog on Fruit tree blooming and bearing problems, for insight on the process of growth of fruit-bearing trees.

 

rotting apples

Part Two:

HELP THE FRUIT IS ROTTING!!!