Fruitful Relationships by Jennifer Waddle

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Fruitful Relationships
Relationship Wisdom That May Move Mountains series 
Jennifer Waddle 
James 4:17

As I type today, I am feeling a deep conviction about this lesson. I know that becoming a Christian is based solely on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. I know that there is nothing I can do to earn my way to heaven. But I also know that being a Christian includes producing good fruit… an outward display of a devoted heart. And, if I’m honest, my fruit is looking awfully pathetic these days.

There’s a verse that says, ‘‘Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.’’ (James 4:17)

My sweet neighbor could have used a meal recently, as she was busy moving her mother to a care facility. Another family, who lost most of their belongings in a fire, could have used my donation. A close friend, whose husband was away for an extended period of time, could have used a break from her two little ones. The mental list of ‘‘should-haves’’ grows, while I struggle to be faithful.

Why am I sharing this? Because, sisters, bearing good fruit matters!

In this series ‘‘Relationship Wisdom that May Move Mountains’’ we’ll be looking at the sixth attribute of heavenly wisdom mentioned in James 3:17…being full of good fruits.

‘‘But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.’’

When I was a brand new Christian in the late 80s, I remember our youth group leader instilling in us that we do good works not to get saved, but because we are saved. Did you learn that as well?

It’s not about trying to earn favor with God. It’s all about abiding in the True Vine so that His life- giving flow reaches every fiber of our being, producing a harvest of righteousness.

Isn’t that a pretty word-picture? Imagine your favorite fruit tree, full of beautiful blooms that eventually yield to an abundance of fruit.

The small pear tree in our backyard gets vibrant white flowers on it every spring. Then, by late August, the branches are usually weighed heavily with pears. Although I’m not a gardener by any sense of the word, I can’t stand to let the pears just fall off and rot. So, every summer, I pick them, wash and core them, and make pear butter or pear sauce for baking.

Sadly, over the last couple of years, that same pear tree hasn’t had much fruit. The pretty white flowers still bloom in April, but the branches remain pathetically bare.

Sisters, could it be that we display pretty things but bear no fruit? It’s sad to say, but I have often fallen into a ‘‘dormant’’ stage and my relationships have suffered because of it. ...

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