Does it feel like each week is an opportunity for God to uncover the “good stored up in your heart” or to reveal the disappointment you have been and will be?

I’m sure we have all frequently felt the latter and occasionally felt the former.

Jesus’ words in Luke 6:43-45 should be very hopeful and encouraging as followers of Jesus Christ, but for many of us they can bring a sense of apprehension when taken out of context.

Jesus said, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn-bushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.”

We tend to be afraid that we are proving to God and the world, week by week, that we are really thorn-bushes pretending to be vines.

We have this unhelpful tendency to evaluate our entire life and effect by our recent activities and interactions as if growth, maturity, goodness, Christ-likeness, sanctification was spontaneous.

And, if you’ve ever experienced the presence of an authority figure, be it a parent, boss, pastor or coach, who continually had the look of disappointment and the tone of frustration, you probably have this tendency of self-judgement.

Many years ago I had a boss who had this look of disappointment and tone of frustration with me, starting with my first day in the office.  Every day felt like another opportunity to prove to him that I never should have been hired – that I was inadequate for the job and an embarrassment for the organization.

This situation drained me of creativity, joy, vision, whole-hearted engagement, hope, strength and initiative.  I was trying not to prove him right rather than bringing the weightiness of my life to my world.

It wasn’t until I decided to face my fears, lean on God, offer what ever good God has stored in my heart, that I felt my life and calling (true effect) coming back to me. That my life was a vine, not a thorn-bush.

God is not waiting for yet another reason why He shouldn’t have invited us into His family and family business.  He does not have a look of disappointment in His eyes nor a tone of frustration in his voice with us.

Here is essential context of our redeemed life as people who offer to the world the good stored up in their heart:

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

“God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?  Numbers 23:19

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you (make you good) through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23

“The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23

So, from one vine to another, let walk together in the assurance of The Gardener’s love, grace and work in our lives.

Gary

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