The Everlasting Grace of Christ

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Are you walking through a difficult time in your life?

Do you wonder why the fruit of the Spirit isn’t growing in your life as quickly as you think it should?

The grace of Jesus Christ extends much farther than we could every dream or imagine.

I really needed this today. Just like a fruit tree needs several years to consistently grow good fruit, so it takes time for fruit to grow in our lives. This is why we need the everlasting grace of Christ.

Life has sometimes been harrowing for my family.  We have faced unbelievable waves of adversity; and there are times when I felt despair because I felt that my response to the circumstances that hit our home with hurricane force was not correct.

I cried out to God, begging for forgiveness that I hadn’t responded in a manner I felt others may expect of me – a believer who has walked with Jesus for nearly 40 years.

And I was reminded that the fruit of spirit – the evidence of ones abiding relationship with Jesus Christ – is not a sign that you have arrived, or even fully matured.

It is not a sign that you can now be elevated to a status of one who ought to be admired and emulated.

Just the same, not displaying all of the fruits of the spirit is not evidence that one is not growing or cultivating an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.

I was struck this week as I read this in Luke 13:

“He also spoke this parable: ‘A certain [man] had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, “Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?” But he answered and said to him, “Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize [it]. And if it bears fruit, [well]. But if not, after that you can cut it down.”‘”

We hear the oft-quoted verse “by their fruits you shall know them” – which Jesus actually said in reference to false prophets, not to followers of Christ and certainly not in reference to new believers.

In fact, Jesus here was warning us that often as mature believers we grow impatient with new believers, or even those we think should be more “mature”.  

He used the illustration of a fig tree.

Now – I don’t know much about fig trees; but the years we bought our first house, we planted 4 trees: an apple tree, 2 cherry trees, and a plum tree.  

Funny thing: we knew we wouldn’t get any fruit from those trees at all for about 4-5 years.

Sure, we saw leaves and our apple tree even had some blooms the first year. But even if it had given fruit before that, it wouldn’t have been big enough to eat.

What’s more, some trees take longer to bear edible fruit than others.

But this doesn’t mean these trees aren’t any good.  It doesn’t mean that they are not healthy or growing.  

It simply means that we need to be patient; we need to cultivate our trees and fertilize them.  If we tend to them properly they will eventually have the kind of fruit we can pick and eat.

I have meditated on this passage ever since I read it last week and I was reminded of something more.

I have heard a lot of people use Jesus, John the Baptist and some of the Apostles as examples of how they criticized and condemned the Pharisees. And I was suddenly struck by something I had never realized before:

They were not criticizing religious followers, they were criticizing religious leaders.  

Those who were supposed to be cultivating ones who sought to follow God; they were insulting those who were supposed to be tending them and inducing spiritual growth in their lives.  

But rather than being the “keepers” they were called to be, they were actually preventing that growth.  

Not only were they were preventing growth, they were creating an environment in which proper growth simply could not occur.

They were interpreters of the law – but by interpreting the law they created all kinds of man-made laws that never actually existed in the law given by God.

What is worse, they forced their followers to keep their laws, while finding ways to get out of having to keep them themselves.

And Jesus was condemning these false interpreters of the law for not being the “keepers of the vineyard” they were called to be; while encouraging us to extend grace to each other, be patient with one another, cultivate each other, encourage each other, and truly love the body of Christ with the same love that He loved those He came to serve.

He extended love and grace; forgiveness and redemption; healing and freedom.  He was patient and kind.

And as these truths trickled over my spirit like a refreshing stream, I was awakened to yet another dimension of God’s grace and love; not just for me, but for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who will sometimes miss the mark, who will not always display the fruits of the spirit, and who will sometimes respond incorrectly in certain situations.  

And when refreshing streams of grace flow freely among us, our local bodies will thrive and grow and the world will know we are His disciples because of that love and grace we freely extend to one another.

May the everlasting grace of Christ flow through me today as a blessing to those I am called to serve!

It is in those times of great weakness that He becomes our strength!

This post is part of the Good Morning Girls Blogging Through the Bible Series

Other posts for Luke are:

Then When I’m Weak

The Everlasting Grace of Christ

Follow Me

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  1. So good Roz! I’m blessed just reading what God has shown you. I REALLY needed this in more ways than one. Thank you so much for sharing, my dear friend.

  2. Well, Jesus did have to shake His disciples up on occasion, lol! 😉

    It’s amazing how we will often expect more of others than we do of ourselves. And we will often grant ourselves much more grace than someone else. This is why we need to keep encouraging one another and lifting one another up in the Body of Christ!

    Thanks so much for linking up to the “Making Your Home Sing Monday” linky party today! 🙂

  3. I hear you. There are times when I have to take my face in my hands, look myself in the mirror and say, “YOU WILL DO THIS!!” It’s not always easy to extend grace.

  4. Yes he did. LOL!!! You are so right. We grant ourselves grace because we judge ourselves by our intentions more than our actions. And forget that others, too, often have good intentions that simply didn’t pan out. Jesus is our perfect example of giving people the benefit of the doubt. I want to follow that example better than I have ’til now.

  5. I always am refreshed by what you share, Rosalind. I will pray for your strength and wisdom through this circumstance you’ve been facing. Thanks for linking u[ at Wholehearted home this week.

  6. Thank you for this post today. It reminded me that even though God hasn’t changed my circumstances around me, He’s still working in me. When I allow Him to do so. I can’t give up when things don’t go according to my plan not should I give up when praying for someone doesn’t seem to change the situation or the person either. We have to trust that He’s changing our fruits and our circumstances little by little. I need to learn to appreciate the little steps because that’s where true growth comes most times. I can say first hand for me most of the time when what I pray for comes quickly and immediately, I soon find out more often than not, it’s not of the Lord. I needed this this morning. Thank you.

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