God wants for us not only to survive, but to be fruitful. Simply put, fruit is the full result – the fruition, if you will – of our nature.
As believers in Christ, we have a new nature that is defined by the presence of the Holy Spirit. As the natural processes occur, the fruit of His Spirit takes shape. That fruit is the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). When we live according to the Holy Spirit, these qualities naturally define our character.
We all desire those qualities for our lives, but we have a responsibility to mind the soil of our hearts.
“The seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:23). The good soil is the fourth kind Jesus describes in His well-known Parable of the Sower.
Of the previous three planting locations, only one ends up producing a living plant. The first is the path, where the enemy snatches away what was sown. The second is rocky soil, where the initial growth was quick and encouraging, but a little heat brought it to complete ruin.
It’s the third planting location I want to point out. This plant actually survives. It takes root in thorny soil and grows, and even…lives. But the weeds that represent the worries of life and the lure of wealth prevent the plant from ever producing fruit.
I’m afraid that’s where many Christians, and myself if I’m not careful, find themselves living. Taking our eyes off Christ allows the cares of this life to choke out the Word of God and prevent us from flourishing, enjoying the abundant kind of life that God intends for his people – not mere existence.
I often retweet C.S. Lewis (well, not really him, but his writings). Here’s a recent example:
How true that while we seek to master our earthly existence, sometimes our earthly existence masters us! Let’s be determined and disciplined to guard our hearts against entanglement in the cares of this life and to be fruitful.