Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)
TITLE: Fruit of the Vine
By Robin McGowan
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As I got home from food shopping today, and started to put the groceries away, I found myself complaining that I even had to go food shopping. As I inwardly mumbled, I heard myself chastise myself. Stop, I said! It occurred to me that many people cannot food shop and at least I get the privilege of being healthy enough to carry out this simple task. For others, going to the store is not so simple. I reminded myself that there might come a day when I will not be able to do such a simple task. I told myself, I don’t have to go; I get to go.
Consequently, in the last year, I have struggled with some of the harder crises in life, such as divorce. It is not surprising that any crisis changes your perspective. This one certainly challenged mine. With that being said, I need now more than ever to be on guard and take special care of my thoughts. So, when I find myself overwhelmed by my emotions and thoughts, I try to stop and evaluate where I am. Otherwise, I am taking a journey to the land of supreme negativity and sometimes the trip back to sanity is a long way home. So I really try hard to challenge my negative thoughts at once, so that they don’t develop into strongholds in my life. For instance, I often ask myself what fruit is my thinking life producing? Is the negative self-talk really working for me? Where is my gratitude? Where is God? Have I pushed God aside in an effort to do things my way? The latter one is always a biggie for me. My way never works, but it never stops me from trying. Human beings are slow learners. I need to always remember that He is the vine, I am the branch; apart from Him, I can do nothing. During my marriage, I was not in the God’s word and I can honestly say there was no fruit in my life. Getting back in the word, I feel that I am once again producing fruit but more so, there is joy and peace.
Meanwhile, when I think of fruit, I think of the vine. I also think of the skin outside of the fruit that is tough, protective, and hard. I know that the skin protects the inner life of the fruit, so that it can remain luscious, juicy, and have the ability to ripen. Without the skin on that fruit, the fruit cannot ripen. That skin to me represents my thought life. It starts there, so I try to strengthen my mind each day with God’s word and gratitude for all that I have. For I believe, what we think about in our lives, we bring about in our lives. The inner fruit is my soul, my will, and emotions. Now of course, I cannot do this by myself so I ask Jesus to guide me and turn my thoughts into blessings that will produce fruit. For he says, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2.
I don’t think I ever realized until now that I am 100% responsible for my thoughts. If there bad thoughts, I am responsible, if there good thoughts, I am responsible. A friend recently told me, “Pray as if everything depends on God, but work as if everything depends on you.” How profound is that? And more so, I think of what Jesus said, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” The renewing only comes through my surrendering my life and my will to God. I also need to be daily in the word of God, for faith only comes through hearing the word. I must say since I have started really surrendering my life to God, He has been so faithful. My thought life has improved tremendously as the fruit of bitter negativity, turns to gratitude and love. Yet I must be always willing to work for it.
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