Looking through the dusty attic boxes we had obtained from family last year, I found some beautiful fruit. The grapes, pears and apples carved out of shiny transparent glass resembled real fruit. They are beautiful heavy pieces for display only, but not very edible. In my childhood home our dining table displayed a shimmering ceramic bowl filled with colorful fruit. Fake plastic fruit was the new thing- as decoration. Looking real from a distance, it was fake.
How can we tell when the fruit in our lives are real or fake? All people want to show love and patience and kindness to mankind. We try really hard to make it look real and desire to have the real thing.
John 15:6 says – “Separated, you can’t produce a thing…” (The Message) Even my best efforts to love, be patient, be kind and have self-control cannot produce the real thing. Only knowing Jesus personally and accepting that I cannot do a thing without Him in my life makes me dependent on Him. As I depend on the Vine, then He can produce the love and patience I need for others, the joy when I’m discouraged, the self-control when I want to be impulsive and the peace when I am worried.
These next few days I will celebrate with other believers around the world, the saddest and yet most joyous event in history– the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He came to save us from being separated from God, just like a dead branch on a tree is separated from the life giving sap. When we come to Jesus and trust in Him there is a new branch that grows from the vine and has new life. That branch will bear real fruit from the new life Jesus gives it. I’m glad that many years ago I accepted that gift of life through Jesus. This week I will take time to rejoice that Jesus produces the real fresh fruit in my life as I continue to grow with Him. Who wants hard cold plastic fruit anyway?
“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” John 5:12 (NLT)
Weddings are wonderful. Seeing a glow on the faces of the bride and groom at a wedding fills me with joy and happiness for the couple. This past weekend we enjoyed having our daughter home from college to be in her best friend’s wedding. As at all weddings, it was beautiful to see the couple share vows of love and promises to be together forever. The traditional vows of “to have and to hold.. for better or worse, in sickness and in health, richer or poorer” are very powerful. These vows will be tested throughout their marriage resulting in faithfulness or unfaithfulness.
Faithfulness means being loyal and firm to adhere to promises made. We first experience faithfulness through our parents when they are faithful to provide for our needs and love us. We also experience it through making friends. Will my friend stay with me, listen to my secrets without sharing them, and keep their promises?
I am tested in faithfulness every day. As a Christian will I be faithful and loyal to my Lord God in spending time with Him, obeying Him, telling others about Him and standing up for His name? In my relationships will I be faithful to my husband, my children, family and my friends? Can they trust me to be loyal and keep my word? Would they say I am faithful to them when they need me? Just like wedding vows, are there any “vows” I have made to God and others that I have not been faithful to act on?
In our self-centered and selfish world faithfulness is waning. We have become accustomed to people not keeping their promises or being loyal. However there is One who is perfectly faithful and trustworthy– God alone.
“… No one is as loving and faithful as you are.” Psalm 89:8.
“The word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” Psalm 33:4
God is faithful to produce faithfulness in me. I can depend on Him because He is dependable and never changing. There may be a time in my life when I may have to suffer for my faith in God and His son, Jesus. Will I be faithful even then as many martyrs today are being faithful? I long to be a “good and faithful servant” even though it may be difficult at times.
This week I will take a look at the vows I have made in my own life– to follow Jesus wherever He leads, to love and serve my husband, to pray for my children, and to be a loyal friend. And I will ask God to help me be faithful, to choose faithfulness daily.