Out on a limb

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

~ Philippians 4:8, NLT





The above saying by Mark Twain caught my attention the other day, as did the verse in Philippians. I was about to dismiss both as something nice to ponder when I felt the LORD say, “Write about them.”

“Together?” I asked. “Write about them together?”

“Yes.”

So there I sat, trying to figure out what going out on a limb had in common with fixing your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. I mean, sure, a tree limb is where the fruit is. But in all honesty, at the end of a limb isn’t exactly where I’d normally fix my thoughts.

Then it occurred to me. Fruit. Not just any fruit, but fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The fruit found in Galatians 5:22. The only fruit against such there is no law. That’s the fruit found at the end of the limb, and that’s where we’re to fix our thoughts.

As most of you already know, attaining fruit of the Spirit is no easy task. It would be great to wave a magic wand and say, “Fruit of the Spirit, appear!” But God doesn’t work that way. He wants to know if we’re willing to go out on limb to get it, and trust Him as we do.

Nobody wants to eat fruit that has gone unpicked and withered or, worse yet, rotted. So when we go out on that limb and take the fruit of God’s Spirit we are, in essence, harvesting, which is a necessary procedure if we expect more fruit to grow.

Of course, whether or not we’re willing to head out on that limb has no bearing on how much God loves us. He loves us no matter what. Nor does it affect our salvation. That part is sealed by Christ’s blood. However, what it does affect is our growth as a person in Christ.

So next time the LORD urges you to go out on a limb, instead of focusing on the ground below, or whether or not the limb will hold your weight, focus on Him–the only one who is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. For it is focusing on Him that will get you to the end of that branch and allow you to partake of the ripest, juiciest, best fruit on the tree: the fruit of the Spirit.

LORD, why is it so hard to trust You? Why is it when I find myself inching across an unsteady branch high above ground that I am always looking at the earth below instead of up at You? My heart knows that You are the one I’m to fix my eyes on but my head sometimes tells me otherwise. I see the fruit–and I want it. But trusting that You will safely get me to the end of the limb so I can partake of the fruit is another story. Therefore, help me, LORD. Help me to fix my eyes on You. To trust You so I can have all that You desire me to have: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The only fruit “against such there is no law.”

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