Bearing much fruit glorifies God.
For the past 2 weeks we had wonderful time receiving and thinking of God’s Word/rhema for our lives. God is telling some of us to do something new, to expand, to rise up and shine from where we are. Those are the words/seeds that was sown in your hearts and minds. We can do something with those seeds. We can make it grow and produce thirtyfold, sixtyfold or a hundredfold. However, if we are not diligent and persistent in taking care of those seeds, it will be gone or it will not bear fruits/harvest. From the time your hear those Words or receive the seeds, to the time it produce a harvest, it will take maybe a week, a month, a few months or even a few years. The crucial part is not so much of the sowing, but the period of time between the sowing and the bearing of fruit.
If our lives does not bear much fruit, it does not glorify God. It is not enough to just sow seeds in our lives. The seeds/Word of God must be taken care of until it bear fruits. Then our Father will be glorified when we bear much fruit. Spiritually, physically and financially. John 15:8, “8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
How is it that some people are able to produce more and harvest more fruits in their lives? What is it that they do or don’t do that cause them to have more fruits?
There are Christians who believes that it is up to God to work in them. There are also those who think that they are nothing, worthless and therefore God cannot do anything with them. Some are just waiting, and waiting and waiting for God to do something in their lives. Often times, they wonder, what is the will of God for their lives and what can they do to produce fruits/harvest in their life. Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Peter 2:15;
A. Producing more by having less.
Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15 Parable of the Sower.
Conditions to producing thirtyfold, sixtyfold and hundredfold harvest. From the parable we learn that we can produce more by having less. Having less of what? 3 things mentioned in the parable that we should have less.
1. Having less of hardened path.
Hardened path are areas where the soil becomes hardened because it was trodden by people. Originally, the area is suitable for planting seeds but after being trodden many times, it became hardened and no longer suitable for planting seeds.
This can be likened to areas in your heart/life that has become hardened because of the pressures placed upon it. It is no longer yielded or open to God’s Words. It can be in the areas of relationship, self-worth, sexual promiscuity or personal gratification like smoking, drinking, or even gluttony. Basically, you have already hardened yourself in these areas and have considered these areas as non-planting area. You do not want the Word of God to be sown there.
2. Having less of gravels/stony ground.
Stones are little things that takes up space in the ground. It is useless and is not beneficial at all in the planting of seeds. Stones represents hardened, useless things that must be removed from your life. It is not supposed to be occupying or be present in your thoughts and life. Stones must be removed so that you can have more space for the seeds to grow. What are these stones in our lives? It could be thoughts and beliefs that have been hardened by hardship, pressures and difficulties in life like racism, indifference, hatred, or bitterness which we have allowed to take space in our lives. You could have been betrayed before in your relationship with others and bitterness could be the stones in that area of your life. Or that you became angry and resented someone for what he/she has done. Resentment are like stones that take up the space in your heart. Seeds like peace, love and joy could have grown in that area of your lives but because resentment takes up the space, little or no harvest of peace, love and joy can be expected from there.
We have to remove all these stones so that the Word of God can have more space and depth to grow and produce a harvest. You will be producing more if you have less of stones in your lives.
3. Having less of thorns.
Thorns are basically other useless seeds that have been allowed to grow on the ground. These are words that when allowed to grow bigger, will do harm to your soul. I am sure most of us have seen a patch of ground that is covered with thorns. We don’t even dare to walk on them. Thorns do not allow other plants to grow over them. What are these thorns in our lives?
Thorns represents words, ideas, philosophies, beliefs that we have allowed in our mind and lives. In the beginning, they seem harmless and can’t do any harm. They may even look the same as the good seed. But if we allow it to grow bigger, it will choke the wheat plants that is supposed to grow there.
Example of thorns.
We often read about the news article on economic recession. Articles that read, “Malaysia will be hit hard by economic recession in 2018” are like seeds of thorns. At first, we may think that news are harmless seeds and are not going to affect us. We also planted seeds of God’s word that says that God will provide all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. These two kinds of seeds grew together in our hearts and mind. For many of us, we read more of the newspaper than the Bible. Therefore, we are allowing more seeds of thorns being sown in our hearts than the Word of God. We think more of the negative news than the wonderful promise of God. It will come to a time when the negative news will choke the Word of God. The negative news of economic recessions in Malaysia will cause us to doubt what God wants to do for us. When we go to the shopping mall and see that there are many people there but not many are buying things, we say in our mind and heart, “There’s economic recession coming”, “Time is bad and getting worse”, or “Life is hard”. Then we come to the belief that “I will also be affected by this economic recession”. The thorns of the news article managed to choke the Word of God.
We need to have less of thorns if we want an abundant harvest in our lives.
* All of us can become good ground. We just need to remove the wayside, the stones and the thorns so that the Word of God can be sown, germinate and produce thirtyfold, sixtyfold or even a hundredfold
Another discipline that you need to practice to help you bear much fruit is the practice of knowing who your God is.
B. Be still and know that I am God – Psalm 46:10
1. A Generous Provider. Some people are afraid to ask God for something big or expensive. They rather let the fear of man choke the abundant living promised by God. I can have a Rolex watch and people will go “wahhh… wahhh” and I can feel so proud of it. That’s not right. But if my heart is right, I will tell them, “Ya right, so cool right. Look what God can do to me. And He can do this to you too!” Then my motive of asking from God the abundance He promised is right.
2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
2. A Great God. When your received the rhema of God, expand your mind. Do not limit God by your small thinking. We have yet to even comprehend/grasp the tip of the iceberg of the fullness of God – Ephesians 3:19. God has bigger and greater things for each one of us because He is a great God. God has given us so much potential that we can fulfill if we allow Him to do so in us.
Do you remember playing sand on the beach when you were small? We build sand castles. We have the potential to build big castles. All of us are destined for great things. You know why? Because our God is a great God. A great God will not put tiny potential in His children. God sees great potential in each and every one of His children. This is where we must not have thorns or stones in our lives that can choke that potential.
3. A Limited God. Philippians 2:13, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good pleasures.” Don’t misunderstand this verse, thinking that it is all up to God to do something. God puts the desire in you, but you have the authority/freedom and choice to will and act upon the rhema of God.
Ephesians 3:20 says it this way,” Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”.
Is God able to do what He ask us to do? Yes! Since He is able to do it, let’s think big because our God is a BIG God. What is it that you are asking God to do in your lives? What is it that you are thinking of doing for God? He can help you do it and much more. The verse says, “able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think…” Think of something that you have asked God for. Did you just ask God for RM3000 a month salary? God is able to give more! RM5000 a month? That should be more than enough for most of us right? God is able to give more! RM10K, RM50K a month? The issue is not so much of whether God is able to give it or not!
The problem is firstly, we don’t even believe that high. (*Sunday Night service at Medical Mission house.) Our mind is so limited that we have not and could not even imagine we can have that much. Don’t limit God. The second problem is stated in the second part of that verse, “according to the power that worketh in us.” Not only our mind is having problem thinking big, but our heart is empty.
What power are we allowing to work in us right now to manifest God’s glory? The power to heal? – Mark 11:17. The power of miracle? The power to cast out demons? – Mark 16:17. The power to create wealth? – Deuteronomy 8:18. The power that raised Jesus from the dead? – Romans 8:11, Ephesians 1:19-20. What power do you have in you? Allow that power to work in you because God is able to do more but He is limited by the power that you allow to work in you.
Harvest time is a joyful time. But labor/hard work is required to secure the harvest. Labor is your responsibility. God will not do the laboring for you.
What is the rhema/seed that God has sown in your heart? You can let it grow to produce thirtyfold, sixtyfold or a hundredfold. But you need to have less hardened grounds, less stones and less thorns. It takes labor to make sure the seeds have enough space and no thorns that will choke its growth.
And while the seed is growing, be still and know your God. What is the potential that God has put in you? Allow the power of God to work in you that you will have exceeding abundantly more than what you ask or think. And by this the Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.