A farmer plants seed, and later cultivates the plants, but without rain his crops won’t produce fruit, and his labor is in vain. Likewise no matter how diligently an individual plans and then works, without the Holy Spirit one’s work will not please God.
Paul realized this truth and wrote: “For I am the least of the apostles, and am not worthy to be called an apostle: because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15: 9-10.
In my writing, I endeavor to acknowledge the truth that I am only God’s instrument and if anything worthwhile is written, give Him the credit. This truth keeps me humble, but does not destroy my confidence. For there is a difference between humility and low esteem and between arrogance and high self esteem. God wants us to manifest high esteem; the devil wants us to manifest arrogance: God wants us to manifest humility: the devil wants us to manifest low self esteem.
My low self esteem was changed after I internalized the truth that had I been the only lost individual, Jesus would have given His life just for me. And Paul wrote that he could do all things through Christ who strengthens him. Once we have the proper attitude about our works and our lives begin to produce fruits, if we want to produce fruit more abundantly, we must be willing to accept pruning and refining, which can be painful.
Remember Jesus said, “I am the vine and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He rakes away; and every branch that bears fruit , He purges it that it may bring forth more fruit.” John 15: 1-2.
The following incident illustrates this truth: Once a deacon asked his pastor to pray that God would give him more patience. The pastor told him he would pray for him and they knelt by a pew. The pastor began his prayer thus: Father, You have heard this brother’s request for more patience; so please send him trials, pain, sorrows and… the man touched his pastor and whispered, I think you misunderstood my request: I asked for patience!” Then the pastor explained patience comes through these hardships.
Father, help us want our lives to bear fruit sufficiently to patiently endure hardships of life. The most beautiful diamonds have undergone much shaping, honing, refining, and polishing. Continue Your refining of our lives until they have the brilliance of diamonds. We pray in Jesus. Name for grace to remain faithful to You during the refining process. Amen,