By Maria I. Morgan
Are you a project person? Projects can be intimidating; especially ones that take five years. If I had known at the onset of writing, Outrageously Fruitful, a fruit of the Spirit Bible study, it wouldn’t be complete for 1825 days, I highly doubt I would have begun.
I prefer the bite-size writing projects that can be turned around quickly – the 500 word articles, blog posts, and short children’s books. That’s my comfort zone. But crafting entries for a 10-week Bible study drew me beyond what was comfortable to what was necessary. Isn’t that just like our God?
A fruitful life
The more time I spent reading God’s Word and studying each characteristic of this spiritual fruit, the more I realized I couldn’t produce it. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance – an impressive list. Qualities that can only be reflected in my life as I yield to the Heavenly Father’s will.
Each lesson was intensely personal as I realized my need for the Holy Spirit’s help to live a fruitful life. Living the Christian life requires complete dependence on God.
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, put it this way: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths,” (Proverbs 3:5-6; KJV).
The big picture
Solomon wrote about his need to consult God for direction in every situation. I need to take a lesson from Solomon. The life I’ve been given is about something far bigger than me – it’s about making much of Christ and pointing others to Him. In short, it’s all about Him, it’s not about me.
It was tough coming face to face with the pride in my life. I saw it in my desire for control. Even after completing the study, another scenario reminded me that the Christian life is a journey.
I had set my phone on silent. I missed my husband’s calls and the multiple texts he sent. As I cruised south on the highway I noticed a car that looked like ours parked on the side of the road. The longer I stared, the more familiar it looked. Yes, it was ours.
Slowing down, I put my blinker on and navigated to the shoulder. I pulled out my phone and noticed the missed messages. My husband’s car had run out of gas.
Maybe I’d misunderstood, but I thought he said he was going to fuel up before our lunch meeting. He wasn’t happy when I picked him up. He wondered why I hadn’t turned my phone on following the church service.
I got defensive and my words lashed out.
The ironic part? We were on our way to meet our pastor and his wife to discuss my book, Outrageously Fruitful –the fruit of the Spirit Bible study. Something I clearly wasn’t demonstrating.
I can laugh at the scenario now, and it’s a fantastic reminder that I need to yield to God’s will instead of demanding my rights, in order to live a fruitful life – one that honors Him.
The apostle John put it perfectly: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5; KJV)
The Lord used a five-year project to help me remember an important truth; I need to stay connected to Christ, knowing His Spirit will produce a harvest of eternal fruit.
Are you yielded to the Lord so the Holy Spirit can produce His fruit in your life? What step will you take today to stay connected to Christ?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are. Life is about You. Help me yield to You so Your Spirit can produce the right fruit in my life. Let it draw others to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you’re like me, you want your life to count. Are you ready to take an honest look at your current behavior and re-focus on the Lord, so you can be outrageously fruitful for Him?
If your answer to the question above was ‘Yes!’, I’d love for you to join me each week as I teach through my Bible study, Outrageously Fruitful, on Facebook Live beginning Wednesday, September 7th at 12:00 noon (EST).
For all the details and to register click here!
Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational writer and speaker. She is the award-winning author of Louie’s BIG day! Regardless of the age of her audience, her goal is the same: to share God’s truth and make an eternal difference. Join her every week to navigate life’s journey together. http://www.mariaimorgan.com
By Maria I. Morgan One day – a 24-hour period of time. We’re all given the same number of minutes each day. For the most part, we determine how to use them. It’s been said that we make time for what’s important to us. So what’s important to you?
As you think back over the past week, how did you spend your time? Is there time you wished you had used differently?
Sometimes I’m selfish . . .
I’m a writer which means I spend a lot of time at home in front of my computer. If I’m not careful, I can get so absorbed in my writing projects that I avoid phone calls and don’t schedule time with friends. I get selfish with my time.
Over a year ago the Lord challenged me to step out of my comfortable writer’s zone and develop meaningful relationships with others:
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another. Romans 12:10
While I know God created me to live in relationship with others, I have to be intentional with my time to do just that. And boy has God blessed. As an older woman, I’ve had the opportunity to pour into the lives of younger ladies – to see them grow in their faith and walk with them through life’s ups and downs. The Lord has also developed friendships with other women who have been able to challenge and encourage me.
The battle between living for self and living selflessly is very real. If I’m not careful, I can be so focused on my agenda that I miss God’s still, small voice. The good news? When I submit to God and seek His will, He makes my path clear. He wants me to live a life that showcases Him. The Bible puts it this way:
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:5
A fruitful life
If you’re anything like me, you want to live a life that’s fruitful. A life that shares the gospel of Jesus Christ. A life that is rich in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Do you recognize these characteristics? They are the fruit of the Spirit.
The key to producing “much fruit” is abiding in Christ. He wants us to be fruitful.
Are you living for self or living a selfless life? What step will you take today to live selflessly?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for reminding me of the importance of living a selfless life. Forgive me for my selfishness. Help me submit to Your will and to walk in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Make my life fruitful for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
*I’ve written a book, Outrageously Fruitful, that addresses this very issue. It’s a 10-week Bible study made up of a series of brief daily lessons that encourage you to take an honest look at your current behavior. It’s my desire that the Lord will use this study as a tool to reignite your faith and put it into action.
Would you like to win a copy of Maria’s book? Just leave a comment to be entered to win. 🙂
Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational writer and speaker. She is the award-winning author
of Louie’s BIG day! Regardless of the age of her audience, her goal is the same: to share God’s truth and make an eternal difference. She lives in the muggy South with her husband, two retrievers, and two Maine coon kitties ~ the perfect mix to fuel her creativity for years to come!