2 John 1:8 – “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.”
Here, the Apostle John instructs Christians on the importance of protecting the fruits of the labors for the Lord. He directs us to look to ourselves, meaning each individual should take stock of their lives. So often we are so focused on those things which are outward (lost souls, our duty to the call the Lord has placed on our life, and other Christians), yet John knew the importance of attention to the inward just as much as the importance of the ministry. What good is it to labor for the Lord only to lose the increase which the Lord provided due to oversight? Whatever the Lord blesses us with, or whatever He has given us charge over, must not fade away due to our lack of oversight.
That thought Leeds to today’s devotion on being “Mindful of the Fruit.” Some plant, some water, but God gives the increase. Yet, how often do we look to ourselves to ensure we don’t lose the Fruit our lives have wrought? The Lord commanded that we be fruitful, thus the fruit should be considered valuable enough to protect and ensure that we do not lose the increase the Lord has bestowed as reward for our labor. To keep what we have wrought we must:
1) Tend the Hedge – In the Vineyard that is our spirituality we must look to ourselves and take stock of the fortifications that insulate is from the world and Satan’s devices. We know that if we break the hedge we will be bitten by the serpent, but the serpent can gain access to the fruit of our souls if the hedge falls into a state of disrepair. We must always be vigilant in asking the Lord to make known the weak points in our life so that we may bolster our defenses. If I am become castaway all my fruit will spoil, all my work for the Lord becomes tainted and my misdeeds cast a shadow on the good works which should have been preserved.
2) Take Note of Wolves – John also deals with Wolves in this chapter. These false prophets had been spreading false doctrine that Christ had not even been manifest in the flesh. If I receive false doctrine and begin to spread corrupted seeds I am uprooting my vineyard and replacing the seeds of the Lord with the tares of the world. I lose all the vested time I had put into the Kingdom of Heaven when I believe a false doctrine. The good fruit spurs and all my future deeds will be toxic food brought about by the world’s religion.
3) Realize the Importance of Fruit – Why is it so important that a Christian be fruitful? Our fruit is not for us to consume, it’s not given by God to sustain us, or even used as an incentive for serving Him. The Lord provides for me and blesses me with a load of benefits each day, yet none of those blessings are taken from the stockpile of fruit in my vineyard. Fruit is for the future of the Church. Every time you find the metaphor of fruit in the New Testament you will note that the fruit is the result of labor that keeps the Church strong and maintains its foundation for both the current and next generation. Souls being saved strengthens the Church. Prodigals returning bolsters the Church. Labor around the House of God ensures that the building will be there the next time we go to worship the Lord. However, if I stop looking inward to ensure that my fruit is protected the real loss is not felt by me… it’s felt by the Church. If we think that fruit isn’t worth protecting there will be no Church for those after us. Long before a church closes its doors the congregation stopped seeing how valuable their fruit was. No Fruit = No Future for the Church.
If I live a holy life before God I will bear fruit. That fruit has a purpose but the Devil can make your labor for the Lord seem insignificant and overly laborious. Keep in mind that the Lord has a use for your fruit, you may not see the value of your consecration to the Lord at this very second but rest assured that when you get to Heaven, and see those that came after you who did benefit from your labor, it will be well worth the price you paid.
Your fellowservant in Christ,
Bro. Jordan Foster