Years and years ago, there was a clever commercial that featured a little old lady ordering a hamburger in a fast-food restaurant. When the burger arrived, she lifted the top of the bun, only to find a tiny gray speck where she expected the meat. Remember her question? “Where’s the beef?”
You know, if that sweet little old lady could examine the Body of Christ today, I think she’d have a different question: “Where’s the fruit?”
In John 15:5 Jesus said, “I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” Further on in John 15:16, Jesus said, “I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.”
Fruit is the product of something, the result. In this case, it’s the natural – or rather supernatural – evidence of God’s Spirit working in us. Galatians 5:22 tells us what this fruit looks like: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
If we abide in the Vine — if we stay connected to Him — the Spirit of Jesus will produce that fruit in us. And He will provide all the nutrients, all the patient and tender care we need. But it’s our job to keep away the pests.
We’ve got to protect the tender plants from being trampled or eaten by their enemies, be they bug or bird or beast. It’s such a critically important job. But one we often neglect.
Song of Songs 2:15 says, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”
Are there any little foxes in your garden today? Inappropriate thoughts that have gone unchecked? Bad habits that have taken root? Small sins you secretly make allowance for?
The trouble with little foxes is that they don’t look dangerous from the outset. They hardly even seem a threat. But these pesky critters nibble at the vine and destroy our life-giving connection to God. They quickly devour the fruit He has so patiently labored to produce in our lives.
The guilt and hypocrisy alone is enough to cripple us and keep us from experiencing meaningful fellowship with the Lord.
If you see any “little foxes” in the garden of your heart, don’t be deceived by their harmless appearance. Catch them now before they grow into monsters. Protect and nurture that precious fruit!
This Week’s Assignment:
If you’re participating in Summer in the Son — our online study of the Gospel of John:
Read John Chs 15-16.
Memorize John 15:4.
Today’s question: What are you going to do this week to stay connected — or to reconnect — with the True Vine?