In our culture, when someone speaks of leaving a legacy, things like finances, status, land and homes are mentioned or assumed. The kingdom of God is often called the upside-down kingdom because Godly things and cultural things are often almost opposites of each other. When thinking in spiritual terms, the fruit we leave is evidence of our lives and legacy. This fruit is composed of intangibles that are much more important than what our culture tends to value as a legacy. For a tree to produce good fruit, there are many elements involved. Things like water, fertilizer, sun and pruning. You know what kind of tree you are looking at by examining its fruit. Similarly, a life and legacy can be identified by its fruit. There are things we can begin cultivating in our lives today in order to ensure we leave a legacy of good and healthy fruit.
INVITATION: This week we dig into deep soil to find out the basic nutrients for producing good fruit in order to leave a legacy of love. Even if you have been attached to the wrong type of branch (and we all have at one time or another) God is a patient and loving gardener and tells us exactly how to become healthy and productive again.
MONDAY: Psalm 103:1-5. Read and meditate on these verses that talk about how it is God who satisfies our desires. Where do you look to have your desires satisfied? Have you ever prayed for God to give you HIS desires in your life? Do you trust God to satisfy your desires?
TUESDAY: I Cor. 13:12-13: These verses indicate that our perspective in the here and now is flawed and we “know in part” but then we “shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” Ask Jesus to show you what HIS perceptions are as you go through your day. Are you willing to entertain the possibility that what you think, see and know may not be the full story? Verse 13 speaks of three intangibles in the spiritual life, with love being the greatest. Even if you were not well loved by others on this earthly journey, you can still leave a legacy of love. Are you ready to allow Jesus to love through you? This may involve some life changes. Do you trust Jesus?
WEDNESDAY: Matt. 7:16-17: The kingdom of God grows from the inside out. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit. A good tree does not happen accidentally and it does not happen overnight. There is a lot going on on the inside and under the surface of a tree before fruit is ever produced. How are you growing and changing on the inside? How is your heart, your mind and your soul? What about those desires written about on Monday? Do they need to be brought in line with Scripture and Jesus? What spiritual practices might you implement this week to begin conforming from the inside in order to eventually produce good fruit? A common internal transformation process is putting spiritual disciplines into place in your life in order to “prepare the soil” for God to do what God will do. How can you prepare your soil today? What about tomorrow? What about next week?
THURSDAY: John 15:1-2: Cutting off unproductive branches and pruning are critical in gardening in order to have healthy fruit. These verses say “my Father is the gardener.” How might you allow God to prune and shape you today? Can you surrender to some hard things in order for better things to come from them? What if you look or feel “ugly” for a while? Can God still be trusted? God is still in the business of making beauty from ashes (Is. 61:3). Recently pruned trees or vines do not look very aesthetically pleasing for a while, but if it is not done, they may not produce any fruit and could even die. What might you say to God today in prayer to let Him know you are willing to submit to whatever gardening techniques he deems necessary in order to produce good fruit?
FRIDAY: John 15:3-13: Jesus says apart from me you can do nothing. How do you feel about that? What does “remaining attached” look like in your life? Is God inviting you to be attached more, or in a different way? Do you need to be unattached from somewhere or something else in order to be more attached to the true vine? These verses indicate that remaining attached leads to much fruit and joy that is complete. Joy leads to love. Staying attached to the vine is the only way to leave a legacy of love. The Christian life of love is not a behavioral modification program. It is a lifestyle of abiding in Jesus and allowing HIM to live and love through you. This brings freedom! Abiding in Jesus leads to internal growth and changes that have external manifestations – such as the fruits of the spirit, the greatest of which is love. How can abiding be a reality in your life today?
SATURDAY: Galatians 5:22-23 & Romans 11:16: If these “fruits of the spirit” make you feel discouraged and like its too late, read Romans 11:16 (preferably in The Message version). There is a holy “God planted and God tended root” and our perfect gardener is a pro at grafting. Grafting allows pruned and/or removed branches to once again receive nutrients and begin to grow, get healthy and bear good fruit. What kind of fruit are you producing? Its never too late for grafting. Allow Jesus to become Lord of your life and begin to grow from the roots, to the trunk, out the branches and soon you will produce rich, healthy fruit in your life! It begins deep on the inside of a tree – and it begins deep on the inside of us. Will you allow Jesus to transform you?