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fruit and character. one in the same.

Have you thought about your character lately? I sat down today, opened up a new devotional book by John C. Maxwell that was gifted to me recently, and was reminded of something so crucial: have you checked in with God on your character lately? I took a moment to reflect on the fruit that is being produced in my life, and I’ll be honest. I want there to be more. Without a doubt. Sometimes I think the greatest deterrent  of fruit-growth in our lives is pride and selfishness. When we take God and others out of the picture, I think our character suffers greatly. Our fruit stands still on the vine, waiting for the right nutrients it needs to grow fully. 
The fruit we produce and our visible (and invisible) character traits are a direct correlation of one another. They can not possibly contradict each other. At least not for long. Our spirit experiences too much internal conflict when these two do not go hand in hand. After awhile, our fruit becomes decorator fruit that sits pretty in a bowl, but at the end of the day is still a fake piece of fruit not being used for any true purpose except decoration. It is not changing life, impacting others, or speaking of the true love and grace of Jesus. And we can not produce life-giving or tasteful fruit without honest and genuine character. The refining process of better, more Godly character can be one of the most difficult to endure. “For this to become a reality, you must allow Him to remove every hindrance to fruit bearing in your life. You will be fruitful only as you become disciplined. Pruning is the price for production.” It is painful because we have to be willing to let go of who we want to be and be real with who we truly are at the very core of our hearts. And that is a sinful, not-always-pretty view of ourselves.
but I think this is the exact view of ourselves we need to have.
It is with this view that we can humbly present ourselves before God, leaving our selfishness and pride behind, and seeking wisdom as we grow in character- ultimately producing useful fruit through God’s grace and provision of the whole process.  

 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15

 
I love this passage. What a great reminder for me today- “Ally, apart from me (God) you can do absolutely nothing. Nothing.” It is in this reality that I am able to surrender once again, maybe for the 20th time in a day, who I am, the desires I have, the things I want,  and the dreams of the future, for God’s will in the midst of all of those. In this reality, I see the need to be connected to Jesus in order to produce fruit that has any use at all. 

Here’s a truth that’s important to consider: just as a tree can’t produce fruit that’s not of its kind, neither can we. In other words, we can produce in our lives only fruit that’s consistent with our character. No person is such a deceiver that he or she can produce consistently what he or she does not believe or embrace. 

what source are you connected to?

What do you have to give? The answer to that question can be found by looking at the type of fruit you’re producing… Most individuals concentrate their efforts on picking fruit instead of producing it… No longer is it a questions of “How can I expand my potential?” but rather “How can I allow God’s power to flow through me?”  

  What kind of fruit is on your tree?

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