Some thoughts I typed just over a week ago...
A Turn in Weather
It clouded over today so we decided to explore - we spent an hour walking along the beach at the side of the lake, then rising up from the water's edge at Garda, we ambled lazily and randomly around local lanes and fields.
A Time to Reflect
I couldn't help being struck by the huge variety of crops - lemons, pears, olives, maize, and, no doubt, lots of every kind of fruit and veg that can be grown in these parts. Even the hedgerows were laden with blackberries - just like we get in more temperate climes at home.
An Abundance of Fruit
What startled me even more was that the orchards, groves and fields did not seem to have any neatly defined boundary lines - even ditches and verges had crops pushing up through the thinnest skiff of fertile earth where the farmer had broadcast his stray seed.
Such are the advantages of the biosphere of the sun-drenched, rain-blest, warm, humid, foothills of the Italian Dolomites - its seems that there is hardly any completely rocky ground: almost anything and everything is able to grow and to bring forth abundant fruit.
Christ's Power for Plants
This fructifying force is a gift of Jesus Christ - His work of providence - so marvelling meditation is a proper, good, response. Hebrews 1:7 cites Psalm 104 of our Mediator-King: saints sing at right sight of fruit fields:
You cause the grass to grow for livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart ...May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in His works ...I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the LORD - Psalm 104:14-15, 31, 33-34.
Christ's Power for Saints
As I considered Creation's God-given, Christ-enabled, potential to produce fruit, my heart was turned to the sphere of spiritual growth.
Has the Father invested His Son with power to ripen Italian lake slopes' fruit? What endowments of grace should Christians not petition from Christ!
Does the secret power of the Savior grow the Word-seed by itself? Expect good preaching to make transforming impact on your life!
Is the covenant benediction of our crucified, glorified, enthroned, Great High Priest pronounced on saints? Super-abundant growth is the inevitable result!
A Healthy Dose of Realism
It is true that all places on the planet are not equally blest with burgeoning produce - for every Garda delight there is also a Gobi Desert, and for every Italy there is also an Iceland - we must take into account the sovereign purpose of Christ, and that not all are equally graced with the same degree of faith by which such goods are reaped.
A Pressing Need for Fresh Fruit
Few things are more vital for contented faith and evangelistic success than spiritual fruitfulness: blood-bought grace of Christ compels 21st century Christians to mirror our Master as we wear the whole wardrobe of a mature, rounded, spiritual, character. Believers who increasingly, and miraculously, replicate Jesus, in death and life, image God most and spread the Gospel best. All is to God's glory and the Father's pleasure!
A Look to The Source
If the apostle said that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control", then His master before Him taught that "apart from me you can bear no fruit ...If anyone abides in me He will bear much fruit." All power to produce has been entrusted to God's Son - it was purchased at the Cross, released at His tomb, and rained-down at Pentecost: by grace, we have been united to our Glorified Head, so that we, His Body, might, in bearing fruit, thus authenticate His truth!
Power to Produce?
Do our souls, as saints, not ache that we so little resemble our Lord? Is it not the cry of your heart, "Father, make me more like Christ"? With harvest home and the 'Great Thanksgiving' fast approaching, are we not aware of angelic reapers' ticking clock? Did Jesus Himself not say that fresh portions of the Holy Spirit would repeatedly and regularly be given, on promise, to believers who ask, wait and persist? Seek the Spirit's graces, and by faith abide in Christ - don't doubt that your Heavenly Father has glorified His Son to supply you with power to abound in spiritual fruit.
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