Giving One Another Space to Grow
Shared by Patricia Backora, author of the book
Tough Love in Christ's Millennium
Which you can order online from: http://www.publishamerica.com
Matt. 7:15-20; Luke 3:9; 13:6-9
How impatient My children can be with one another, and how lenient with themselves. The feel-good promises of My Word they reserve for themselves and for those they cherish as friends. But they seize upon frightening Scriptures to bully those they don’t particularly like and barely tolerate.
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree is one of the hypocrite’s favorite weapons to use to cut somebody else down. In this story the landowner sends his servants to check to see if a habitually barren tree has produced any fruit yet. To his annoyance, he learns that it has grown only leaves. The landowner gives the tree an ultimatum: If, after one more year of careful cultivation it fails to produce fruit, it will be chopped down. And it will be cast into the fire, good for nothing but firewood for the burning.
Christians conveniently forget that the tree in question had grown far beyond the sapling stage. Baby believers are spiritual saplings who must be fed and cherished with the Love of Christ, not condemned. The best fruit comes from a mature tree which has had time to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit in its life.
Many suppose fruitfulness refers primarily to winning souls, and thus being a spiritual parent, without whom the convert could not have possibly been born again. But do not flatter yourself. I could have chosen some other means to reach that soul. And remember, it is impossible for any human to change someone else’s heart. You are My witnesses on earth, but the Holy Spirit is the Interior Witness Who deals with the soul of a sinner, pleading with him or her to forsake their evil ways and be converted. You cannot do this. And it is not you giving birth to the born-again soul. At most your testimony serves as the midwife to help bring a new conversion about. You are My fellow laborer in the Gospel, but your role is a supportive, secondary one, not the primary one.
What pride has been engendered by countless spurious “conversions” which took place because some young person felt obligated to please his best friend by repeating the sinner’s prayer! How many have gone away from Me because My Word was not given time to take root in the hearts of those double-minded people and produce the sweet fruits of the nature of Christ Jesus!
Don’t ever use My Word to beat your brother or sister on the head with, just because your personality seems to be at odds with theirs and you don’t take an easy liking to them. I would have been perfectly justified in refusing to like you because of your past sins. Learn to love with My perfect Love. And give one another space to grow!