A Fruit Called Love

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. … As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. … If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. … As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. … You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you.

– John 15: 2, 4-5, 7, 9, 16 (OSB)

The words “love” and “fruits” are repeated so many times in this one conversation Christ had with His disciples. Coincidence? I think not.

We get it wrong so often. We think that God wants something from us other than our love, but He doesn’t. Literally everything that should come from our discipleship, our friendship with Christ stems from this one thing: LOVE. It’s so simple, and yet we insist on complicating it!

God = love. So when we abide in God we abide in love. Every fruit, every action and word, every outcome should be a direct result of love. Out of His love are we able to love – Him, others, ourselves. And that is why He says, “you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” When we truly dwell in God and His love, His desires become our desires – we no longer desire and seek silly or selfish things, but what God desires we will desire, and when we ask they will be done.

The deeper we delve into our relationship with God, the deeper in love we become and the closer to God we become – in our desires, our thoughts, our words, our appearance. It takes time and it takes effort: we are pruned just as a plant must be pruned to ensure it continues to produce good fruit, but the more time and effort we put into becoming more like Him, in abiding in His love, the more we become love. This is what we have been chosen to be.

And really, that’s what the world needs now more than ever, right? Love.

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Man Oh Man, It’s Time For The New One

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

— Colossians 3:12-17

This passage really could not have come at a better time. The preparation week of Lent is coming to an end, and fully-fledged Lent is upon us. It is now the time to put our proverbial money where our mouths are and make a real change in how we are living our lives. I decided to take this passage and break it down, virtue by virtue and self-reflect, and I would encourage you to do the same. Here we go:

  • Tender mercies: not just mercy, but tender mercy; that’s a whole other level of mercy. Have I been merciful to those around me? Or do I get frustrated with others, refusing to let go of their faults and refusing to give the benefit of the doubt?
  • Kindness: do I show kindness to others around me? And when I do where is it coming from? Is it coming from the little that I have or does it stem from the kindness that I am receiving from God?
  • Humility: this is a biggie. What am I focusing my life around? Is it all about me or is it about those around me? Am I doing or saying things to keep attention focused on me? What are the intentions behind my actions and words?
  • Meekness: I don’t think we always know what being meek means, but it goes along with the theme of the rest of this passage. Am I gentle with those around me? Am I soft and calm? Or am I boisterous and loud and saying whatever pops in my head without regard for the consequences?
  • Longsuffering: Am I patient with the people in my life? How about with God? Do I allow Him time to work in my life or do I decide to take matters in my own hands? Do I live my life in the “my way or the highway” mentality or do I leave room for God to do His work on His time?
  • Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another: similar to the attributes above, how am I dealing with people I interact with? Do I forgive or do I insist on holding onto grudges and what I think is owed to me? Do I bear with those who feel like a thorn in my side?

I will be honest with those of you out there reading this, I have not been the best at basically any of these things lately. I haven’t been putting on love like Paul calls for us to do.

But that’s the beauty of this season! It’s another opportunity for a fresh start, to put on love, to be ruled by the peace of God, to be filled with the word of God.

Instead of being ruled by our passions and pride and selfishness and insecurities, let’s choose to be ruled by the peace of God.