Hope of the Harvest
In Fruit bearing we are referring to principals that will help us to produce the proper fruit within our lives as a believer so we can and will be effective in reaching the lost around us. Psalm 1:2-3 says, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” To do this we must stay full of the spirit. That is, to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in our daily walk. We must read and meditate upon the Word of God. Here is a short list of the kind of fruit that we as a believer should be seeing in our personnel life. This is in addition to the fruit we have already discussed in Gal.5
1- Repentance- Matt.3: 8, Luke13: 5-9
2- Practicing the truth daily- Matt.7: 16-21, Col.1: 10
3- Answered prayer- John 15:7-8
4- An offering of money given by believers-Rom.15: 28, Mal.3: 10 (It is not the responsibility of the unbelieving world to produce the financial fruit that is needed for the operation of the kingdom while many believers have no fruit whatsoever in their lives in this area. This is one of the quickest ways for a believer to wither and die spiritually. It will also cause whatever fruit they may have in their life to begin to dry up as well.)
5- A Christ like character- Gal.5: 22-23
6- Winning unbelievers- Rom.15: 28, I Cor.16: 15, Col.1: 6
We must never forget that we are called to bear fruit. This pleases God. We must also realize that to be a fruit bearer, we must grow to spiritual maturity. There are no shortcuts to maturity. It takes years for us to grow to adulthood and it takes a full season for fruit to mature and ripen. The same is true for the fruit of the spirit. This development does take time. Spiritual growth, like physical growth, takes time. Sometimes it seems we are more concerned about how fast we grow than how strong we grow! Paul writes in Philippians 1:6, “I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you to grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ return.” (LB) The question is often asked why does it take so long? Here are a couple of reasons to consider:
A- We are slow to learn. Most people have to relearn a lesson 40 or 50 times to really get it.
B- We have a lot to unlearn. Since most of our problems- all of our bad habits didn’t develop overnight, it is unrealistic to expect them to go away immediately. The Bible calls it “taking off the old self and putting on the new self.” While you are given a brand new spirit at the moment of conversion, you still have old habits, patterns, and practices that must be removed and replaced by the leading of the spirit of the Lord.
C- We are afraid to face the truth about ourselves.
Truth will set us free, but it often makes us miserable first. Only as we allow God to shine the light of truth on our faults, failures, and hang-ups can we begin to change them.
D- Growth is often painful and scary.
There is no growth without change; there is no change without fear or loss. And there is no loss without pain. Every change involves a loss of some kind. You must let go of old ways in order to experience the new.
E- Habits take time to develop. Remember that your character is the sum total of your habits. There is only one way to develop the habits of a Christlike character – you must practice them. Paul urged Timothy to, “Practice these things. Devote your life to them so that everyone can see your progress” (I Timothy 4:15).
It is key that we remember that God is at work in our lives and regardless of how long this process may seem to us, we must cooperate with God in the process.
When God wants to make a mushroom, he does it overnight, but if he wants to make a giant oak, he takes a hundred years.
Hope of the Harvest
(Matt.9: 37-38) Jesus was traveling with his disciples through all the cities and villages interacting with people. Verse 35 of this chapter explains what he was doing. “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”
He is showing the disciples several important principals of the harvest. In verse 36 Jesus shows them the proper attitude about the harvest and in verse 37 He declares the hope of the harvest. In verse 38, He tells the believer to pray for workers and to be workers themselves.
It goes without saying that if you do not believe there is a harvest; you will not show up in the field. God provides for the fowl of the air, yet they still have to get out of the nest and go to the field. We need to remember that the harvest, because it is in the field, cannot come to us so we must go to it! Here are the principals we must follow to be effective in the harvest field:
1-Teaching- Jesus gave direction to the people this produced hope.
2-Preaching- He imparted hope beyond their current situation.
3-Healing- He restored wholeness to the people. (Matt.10: 1-And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of disease). We see here that the power of salvation can and will transform all who will obey. Each person has an invaluable, everlasting soul. Many of these souls can be saved if only someone will present the message of salvation to them.
4- Jesus was able to discern their spiritual condition. “They fainted.” They were harassed, overcome bewildered with things “they were scattered abroad” they were without direction. Man needs Godly direction and spiritual leadership. We too must have discernment to reap the harvest that God has set before us. We must do more than talk about the harvest. We must believe that the harvest is present and that it can be gathered.
This is no doubt why so many within the kingdom today are full of anxiety. They are working all around the harvest field, yet never entering into the field. They are masters at telling everyone what needs to be done while not doing anything themselves. They are busy doing nothing – clouds without rain. They have a lot of activity, yet very little productivity! There is always someone to help to reach out to, minister to. Someone always needs direction. Sinners need saving and the saved folks need strengthening so that they can grow into what God desires. There is always the possibility of a harvest. In John 4: 35, the writer writes, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” There are some key words in this command. First, there is some to be harvested today. Secondly, He says look up. That is look beyond what you are merely dealing with currently. Then, He says LOOK! Not just glance at, but also look – that is focus in on. This depicts seeing as God sees, discerning what you are looking at.
Having just declared the possibility of the harvest, Jesus proceeds to reveal the problem of the harvest; there are not enough labors. Had Jesus stopped here we still would have no hope of a harvest. Yet he proceeds to give us the solution to the problem. He commands the disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into the harvest.
Pray ye here implies to express the request as your own personal need. Believers are only deceiving themselves if they are waiting for the world to reap the harvest and then bring it to us! (Come on!)
So we see here that there will always be a harvest for the church to gather in every generation. So don’t excuse yourself from this part of the work of God. Also don’t waste time trying to measure your harvest to someone else’s harvest. While each field is different, always remember God has promised that there is a harvest to be gathered!
Become a worker today in God’s harvest field that he has set before you!
The above article, “How to Be a Fruitbearer” was written by James Holland. The article was excerpted from Holland’s book In Remaining Fruitful as a Leader.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.