Have you ever gone to a movie theater right after dinner and soon as you walked in you were suddenly hungry for popcorn? How is that possible? How about while you are watching a program on TV a commercial comes on for your favorite fast food or scrumptious desert and suddenly you are hungry? Let’s say you go to Grandma’s for a holiday and soon as you walk in you are hit with the fresh-baked apple pie smell? Now you are really in trouble. Forget the real dinner, let’s have pie!
I am really hungry for God. The more I learn about Him the more hungry I am for Him. When I meet people who aren’t hungry for Him I find myself wanting to convince them that they should be hungry for Him because, well…God is amazing. In doing that however I have highlighted what I think is lack in their life and put them into comparison mode with my life. That approach is pointless and actually fruitless.
So I ask myself, what makes a person hungry? When you have tasted the goodness of God, the love of God, the amazing Grace of God, you want everyone else to have some of this awesome apple pie. So what do you do? Here is the answer…nothing. Well nothing of your effort. Providing a persuasive argument to move a person from one place to another is nothing more than presenting law, lack and guilt. It actually moves them away. An informed discussion (argument) is nothing more than an exercise in human wisdom which is folly. So what do we do? We are so compelled to do something, anything to get people to seek out an encounter and relationship with our amazing Papa.
So I asked God about hunger and He reminded me of this truth:
John 15:5 “I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can’t produce anything without me. (GWT)
Then it hit me…hunger is brought about by the attraction of food (fruit). You can go days and days even weeks without food. You may have moments of hunger but generally it passes. Bring in a plate of your favorite food however and your hunger meter is pegged, off the chart. Depending on how long it has been since you ate last the hunger might drive you to “pursue at all cost” the consumption of this tasty sustenance.
So we are to bear fruit. The funny thing is bearing fruit is effortless. God does the producing, we do the bearing. We are the branch not the vine. We just display His tasty fruit. How easy it that. So when interact with people you are actually just showing off God’s amazing fruit in your life. It should look like this list:
Gal 5:22 But the spiritual nature produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. (GWT)
It also includes healing and deliverance and other supernatural expressions of His love. This will be attractive fruit for the one that needs it. It will make them hungry. “But what if my life doesn’t look like this fruit list?” It should and it is His promise to you. It isn’t your effort but His working in your life. If you try to manufacture this list like religion tells you to do, it will be wax fruit, a plastic facade. It may look good on the outside but you will spit it out on the first taste or break a tooth trying to take a bite. Don’t be fooled by self-effort touting “you need to work harder” teacher. God says we need to enter His rest. This is His fruit. As an abiding child of God we are bearing fruit all the time. If you feel like you are missing some of the fruit cocktail then just ask Him prune what needs to be pruned. This isn’t religious pruning of removing stuff through your spiritual disciplines. It is Him coming in and taking away shame, pouring healing into an emotional wound or many other forms of His love. So our prayer should be “make me the most amazing branch in you to bear the finest fruit for others to see.”
Imagine if you actually expressed the joy inside of you because of Jesus in you. What if people saw the joy in your life and said “what is that all about?” Now you are ready. In season and out of season, you have your testimony, your love song for others to hear. It isn’t hard or argumentative at all. You just tell people about how much you love God and how much He loves you. Now they get hungry. There may be those that initially reject you or scoff or claim “you can’t be real” but know that your fruit is irresistible because Holy Spirit is irresistible. God is that good and He is infinitely attractive.
Here are some excerpts from an amazing testimony by Georgian Banov, Branded by the Fire of Love. As a backdrop he has come from Bulgaria to the US to escape communist oppression. He finds himself in Southern California, hungry, homeless and out of work. These “Jesus Freaks” help him out. Georgian is an atheist at the time.
…Every time I saw them, they said things like “Jesus loves you, He really does,” and “He died for you!” I remember thinking, “What kind of drug are they on?” They would smile and look at me with “dreamy” stares – at times, I could actually see something leaking from their eyes. Later on, I would understand that God’s joy, peace, and love was pouring out of their eyes and radiating irresistibly in the frequencies of their voices…
…I desperately wanted to say, “Seriously? Give me whatever drug you are on that makes you feel good for no reason, and I want it right now!” Instead, I mumbled something just to be polite. After all, dinner was about to be served. They were persistent in reminding me at every opportunity, “Jesus loves you” and continued inviting me to dinner every day…
He has been with them for months now and has decided to move on, get a job and pursue his music but before he leaves he decides to at least investigate this whole Jesus thing. He climbs up the hill and has this encounter.
…I said it aloud, certain that no one could hear me… “God, do You exist?” KA-BOOM! As soon as I uttered those words, everything changed…
…His peace and love melted me and filled me. From that moment on, I had an insatiable hunger and thirst for His presence. You see, once you taste these things, you find the thought of never having them again unbearable, because they become your oxygen. (Powerful Encounters in the God Realm: Testimonies and Teachings of Today’s Frontline)
So we get to bear fruit. My prayer is that I move from the need to persuade to the position of fruit bearer. I want people to see the love of God in my expression, my attitude, my presence, my words, my very life. He is that good. He has made a promise to live in me and me in Him. We are in union. He has said that His fruit is good and I get to bear it. I am not striving to abide or produce or anything else. I am yielding to His truth. I am surrendering to His love. I am trusting in His promises. Bring on the fruit!