Today, February 2, 2021, I was doing a morning Our Daily Bread devotional and today's scripture is John 15:2 - "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener...Every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful".
As I was reflecting on this passage, I prayed and asked God to show me my fruit. I don't "feel" very fruitful because of unanswered prayer and promises yet to be delivered but I know the heart/feelings to be deceitful and I want to be sure I'm not missing His goodness because of what I can only see with my natural eyes.
The Holy Spirit delivered immediately and replied that this scripture refers to Spiritual Fruit! (DUH, Leslie!) Spiritual Fruit includes:
Love / Charity ~ the love of God and of neighbor without any thought of receiving something in return; not a feeling but concrete action.
Joy ~ not an emotion but a state of being undisturbed by the negative things in life.
Peace ~ a tranquility in our soul that comes from relying on God rather than anxiety about the future.
Patience ~ the ability to bear the imperfections of others through a knowledge of our own imperfections and our need for God's mercy and forgiveness (and patience with us, lol).
Benignity / Kindness ~ the willingness to give to others above and beyond what is expected.
Goodness ~ the avoidance of evil and the embracing of what's right, even at the expense of one's earthly fame & fortune.
Longanimity / Long-suffering ~ patience under provocation; while patience is directed at other's faults, to be long-suffering is to endure quietly the attacks of others.
Mildness / Gentleness ~ to be forgiving rather than angry, gracious rather than vengeful; to be meek like Christ by not insisting on our own way but yielding to others for the sake of the Kingdom of God!
Faithfulness ~ living our life in accordance with God's will at all times.
Modesty ~ humbling ourselves by acknowledging that any of our successes, achievements, talents or merits are not truly our own BUT gifts from God.
Continence ~ self-control or temperance; it does not mean denying ourselves what we need or even necessarily what we want (as long as it is something good) but rather, it is exercising moderation in all things.
Chastity ~ the submission of physical desire/nature to right reason by subjugating it to one's spiritual nature; indulging our physical desires only within appropriate context - for instance, engaging in sexual activity only within marriage. (learnreligions.com)
Looking over this list, I smile. The pruning, the spiritual winters, the dark nights, the afflictions...the suffering we endure certainly produce such harvest for I am a witness. This is what God wants to produce in us ~ the pruning (cutting away)
is for our own good...spiritual renewal and growth and fruitfulness...showing the world God's goodness through us! :D