Do the following statements, “I need to improve my walk with the Lord” or “I used to be really close with God but I fell I off. Sooo, I need to get back on track,” sound familiar to you? Now, here is the fun one: have you found yourself battling habitual sin recently, to the point where you are too tired to fight it anymore, and have become numb to the leading of the Holy Spirt as a result? Well, join the club, friend!
As always, I am not claiming to be God, a theologian, or a pas-tress. Correct, Pas-tress is indeed NOT a word. If it is, I am not aware. Firstly, pas-tress rather than pastor sounded cool because I am female. Secondly, what’s a blog post without my antics? Apologies, I digressed. But here is the deal. I am not here to solve your problem, I am just here to tell you that I can relate to all of those feelings and I want to encourage you to continue fighting the good fight, even when you feel like you are falling short.
Which Branch Are You and What Season Are You In?
In John 15: 1-6, Jesus explains that God is the vinedresser, Jesus is the true vine, and we are the branches, that either produce or do not produce fruit. Jesus urges us to abide (meaning to be guided by and remain) in Him so that God can continuously address sins and cut away the dead ends in our life.
As a result of being pruned, we bear the fruit of the spirit – joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus also warns that branches that do not abide in Him or bear fruit, will be thrown away into the fire, and burned. Yikes. Now, I know this sounds harsh, but hold on to these concepts because we will revisit them later in this post.
Psalms 1:1-4 tells us that the individual who delights in the Lord and does not sin, is blessed (extremely happy and content), like “a tree planted by streams of water,” continuously receiving nourishment and yielding fruit.
In response to these verses, I asked myself the following questions that I will ask you to quickly answer now and reflect on later. You have like three seconds, GO:
- Are you a branch that is bearing fruit and are you delighting in the Lord and feeling #Blessed?
- Are you a branch that does not bear fruit and are you feeling discontent and condemned because of sin?
- Are you a Christian who feels like you fall in both categories? If so, what season is it – a fruit bearing or dry season?
- Are you unsure of where you stand?
The Good News about Habitual Sin
The truth is, if you read scripture and fail to instantly see how you fall short in comparison to Jesus and/or don’t see areas where you need to grow, you are missing the point of the Gospel. The notion that Christianity is synonymous with perfection is an alternative fact and very fake news. In fact, the gist of the Gospel is that we will continue to fall short. But Jesus never falls short, He wants to take our place, and if we truly surrender our lives and sins to Him, His grace will empower and compel us to act right, out of love, not fear of eternal damnation. AMEN?The gist of the Gospel is that we will continue to fall short, but Jesus never falls short. Click To Tweet
I go through seasons when it is evident that I am abiding in Jesus and bearing fruit. But, there are those dry seasons when I feel condemned because of my sin, and I just want to hide under a rock. No matter the season, I have learned the difference between condemnation, which yields guilt, and conviction, which prompts change. While I can’t change my past, I can choose to respond to conviction instead of condemnation in the future.
Here is where we apply the concepts that I told you to keep in mind earlier. If you consider yourself to be a fruit-bearing branch, where you are in a season where you feel convicted of your sins, but you just feel tired of fighting, take heart! Jesus has overcome for you and has already declared you clean because of the words that He has spoken to you.
Know this. You are in a good place because you are being pruned, God is exposing sins in your life, cutting them away and purging them with fire so that you can enter heaven like a BOSS, in Jesus’ name of course. It’s called refinement and it’s not supposed to feel nice or comfortable in your present body.
If you are unsure about where you stand, and maybe feel like the branch that is not bearing fruit and being thrown into the fire, there is still hope for you. Some theologians argue that when the Bible says that the father/vinedresser takes away the branch that is not bearing fruit, He might possibly be “lifting the branch up” so that it CAN start to bear fruit.
Even if the verse does not explain what it means for the vinedresser to “take away” or specify that this means to “lift up,” know this. You have not gone too far out of Jesus’ reach and it’s not too late to get right with the Lord. The God I know redeems.
My Prayer for You
Father, help us to be fruit-bearing branches, people that recognize the importance of complete dependence and need for constant connection to Jesus, the vine, every day. As you abide in us, and us in you, may we bear the fruit of joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. May we find unshakable contentment in you and in our lives. Amen.
It is my sincerest hope that this post challenged you. Because I am certain that you have been DYING to reflect on the questions mentioned in this post during your next time with the Lord(and a few others that I have drafted), I have excellent news! You can grab a worksheet down below!