What comes to mind when you think of fruit?
Cherries are my favorite, but not just any cherries. I love the tart cherries grown in the orchards along Michigan’s western shore, the Grand Traverse Bay area, my old stomping grounds. And my favorite way to eat cherries is baked in a pie with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream on top.
In John 15, though, Jesus wasn’t thinking about cherries—or apples or bananas or pomegranates—when He said, “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” (John 15:5 NIV). Jesus talked about the evidence of His Holy Spirit’s presence in us that appears when we follow Jesus, live for Him, and walk closely with Him.
For years, whenever I’ve read Jesus’ words in John 15, I’ve thought right away of the apostle Paul’s list in Galatians: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV).
As my relationship with God deepened, He prompted me to focus on Jesus’ teaching in John: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2 NIV). Specifically, I focus daily on “every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2 NIV). These two verses leave me with a few key points to ponder:
- How critical is God’s pruning to my being more fruitful?
- How often and how much does God have to prune me to increase my fruitfulness?
- What does productive pruning look like—and does it hurt?
- I wondered where I could go to gain some insight and explore some possible answers to these questions?
What you’ve just read is an excerpt for Transformational Life, a study guide for developing a deeper intimate relationship with God through his pruning that cultivates the fruit of the Spirit within you. If you like what you’ve read, and the questions presented thus far, this resource would be helpful.
The glorious gifts God granted Christians when we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior are nothing less than miraculous. We’re given a new heart and spirit empowered by Holy Spirit, our Counselor, and a renewed relationship with God, which in and of itself is a truly transformational blessing. Transformational if we learn how to live, love, and lead with our new heart, transformed mind, and renewed spirit enabling us to become abundant fruit-bearers.
Transformatonal Life’s ten-week study guides you in the transformational process of dependently abiding in Christ, that abundantly bears the fruit of the Spirit. This transformation is not a once and done event, abiding in Christ, and bearing fruit is an ongoing, life-long process. A process that transforms us like nothing else, into the men and women God created us to be.
In Galatians 5:22-23, the apostle Paul lists nine specific virtues/behaviors that are the result of the work of the Holy Spirit. These are commonly referred to as the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
The purpose of this 10-week study group series is to awaken the Spirit that lives in you, helping you produce a greater abundance of fruit. Each week you will discover how God is working or “pruning” your heart, mind and spirit enabling you to bear more fruit. If you are not yet a Christian, we pray that each lesson will encourage you to learn more about God and the plan He has for your life. Join us in learning how to live a Transformational Life.
I hope this resource will be an encouragement for you. TransformingFamilies.org resources are designed to guide you through the restoration process of developing your heart, mind, and strength, enabling you to become the man or woman God created you to be.
FYI: I also provide one-on-one coaching, if you want to improve your relationships, let’s connect through e-mail at ‘email@example.com’. My hope for you is that through these blogs, references, and resources, God will transform you from being bruised or broken to an abundantly blessed beloved son or daughter.