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Fruit of the Lord’s Tree

Posted by Roberta Grimes • July 02, 2015 • 10 Comments
Jesus, The Teachings of Jesus

Someone who had read my post of June 6th, By Their Fruit You Will Recognize Them, has asked what I think is a wonderful question. If Christianity abandonedStained Glass Jesus Praying the rest of the Bible and began now to follow only the Gospels, how would things be any different?

As you may recall, in that earlier post we applied to modern-day Christianity the Lord’s own standard for any organization that purports to be of God:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (MT 7:15-20)

It isn’t necessary to again point out the many ways in which Christianity has let down the Lord of whose teachings it remains the custodian. If necessary, please review my blog post of June 6th. So, what did Jesus actually teach? How might things be different if we took His teachings seriously?

The First Requirement For Spiritual Growth is Humility

The dead tell us that our earth-status counts for nothing in the afterlife levels. Jesus agrees with them. “Many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (MK 10:31) “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (MT 23:11-12)

Spiritual Growth is Based in Love

We can’t say for certain that spiritual growth is only love, but we can say that loving perfectly is at its core. And universal love is not just another religious rule to be mechanically followed. Rather, it is a way of thinking that must altogether fill our minds so we never again have any thought nor do even the smallest thing that is not the fruit of a heart full of love.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (JN 13:34) “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (MT 22:37-40)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are Stained Glass Handsyou doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (MT 5:43-48)

We have learned from the dead that perfection in loving God and loving others really is the standard. We are meant to become like Jesus.        

Unless We Continue to Make Spiritual Progress, We Will Fall Backward

Jesus says some things in the Gospels that seem incomprehensible and even cruel until we realize that He is referring to not earthly riches, but spiritual ones.

“For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (MT 29:30)

“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.” (LK 8:17-18)

When Jesus mentions “having” in these places, He isn’t talking about material wealth. He is referring to spiritual growth, which from His perspective is the one thing worth having. And these are not God’s arbitrary rules. Rather, they are spiritual laws in a reality governed by the physics of consciousness. As inevitable as the tug of gravity and as inexorable as the temperature at which water freezes is the fact that either we continue to progress spiritually, or we risk losing whatever spiritual progress we may already have made.

We Are Meant to be Good Stewards of Our Own Spiritual Growth

It isn’t up to God to magically bestow upon us the gift of spiritual progress. Whether we make progress or not is in our own hands, and there are no shortcuts. Jesus tells parables to help His followers grasp this essential point. He is talking here of our attainment of the Kingdom of Heaven, by which He means the upper afterlife levels where we live in joyous proximity to our Source.

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (MT 25:14-30)

This is an important parable! Our spiritual nature can be seen as an extraordinary opportunity given to us by God, but it is only the beginningStained Glass Jesus With Lamb of what is possible for us. Our task is to nurture our spiritual nature and build upon it throughout our lives, so when we graduate back to where we live eternally we will hear those beautiful words: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Can you imagine a world in which everyone who professes to be a Christian starts to follow the Gospel teachings of Jesus, and only the Gospel teachings of Jesus? The very contemplation of such a world makes me giggle with joy. I would love to have your thoughts!

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/60532802@N07/5546682698″>Head of Jesus Christ 62</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7186914@N02/8396765638″>SURRENDER</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/60532802@N07/5691333063″>The Good Shepherd 93</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Roberta Grimes

Roberta Grimes is an internationally recognized expert on death and the afterlife. Learn More

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10 thoughts on “Fruit of the Lord’s Tree

  1. This is a very interesting, but sometimes hard to understand article. I am about to be 59 years old, and I remember being very young, it was said “It’s a cold, cruel world”. I have lived a life of pain and abuse and find that things always get worse for me. For instance, I have worked for a company for almost 22 years and I am about to get fired. I have the option of “quitting” and receive unemployment, or if I decide to stay on and make one more mistake, I will be fired, and they say they will block me from collecting unemployment. That is really being put between a rock and a hard place! Trying to get spiritual growth through all this is a major challenge, and I still don’t know what to do. With rent being $1,350 per month and needing another car, plus bill payments, I am at the mercy of the employers, the landlord, etc. and still I am a slave. I have been through very cruel conditions in my life, but I cannot think of any time worse than this. I can pray to God and Jesus, but still I have to pray for the enemies, who always tried to make it so hard for me at the workplace? I don’t know, but I will try. Thanks for your emails and reading my thoughts, Kathy Hamilton

    1. Oh dear Kathy, my heart goes out to you, as I’m sure does the heart of everyone who reads your comment. You must be a very advanced being spiritually to have chosen such a difficult set of life-challenges, although hearing that may not at the moment be especially comforting to you. I don’t know anything about your past, or what has brought you to this place, but all I can do is to urge you now to connect with God as intensely as you can. Tremendous spiritual growth in the kind of life that you describe is possible, but spiritual growth always has to be sought – it’s not automatic. I urge you to:

      1) Give the rest of your life to God. And mean it. I pray daily, “Thank You for giving me work to do. Thank You for showing me how to do it.” I didn’t originally give my life to God for my own sake, but I have found that the gifts that continue to flow from my gift are amazing!

      2) Begin to read the Gospel red letters over and over. Ignore the rest of the Christian Bible, and even in the Gospels concentrate just on what Jesus says about loving, forgiving, and spiritual growth. Unfortunately, the Gospels have been edited by Christians intent on building their own doctrines. I will be publishing a book in the fall that shows you how to discard the rubbish, but it isn’t yet available.

      3) Practice loving. Practice forgiving. Like any other skill, these are things that we become better at as we continue repeatedly to do them.

      4) If you have questions for your guides, ask them aloud before going to sleep and then pay attention to your first morning thoughts. As with loving and forgiving, seeking and accepting guidance is something we get better at as we continue to practice it.

      5) Watch for God’s opportunities. These won’t always look like opportunities; some of them will come to you more as tugs on your compassion, or as what appear to be doors slammed (like losing a job or a home). In everything that happens in your life from now on, seek the spiritual benefit to be gained. And the work that you can do to help others.

      Life is not easy. For more advanced beings, it can be horrendously hard! But it’s like a bad afternoon at the gym: the more we exercise our spiritual muscles, the better we grow spiritually. Please try this, dear Kathy! And please let me know how you are doing.

  2. Another excellent blog, Roberta!

    My positive thoughts and prayers go out to Kathy. I’ve had some really tough times myself and so has most everyone. I’m in a steady holding pattern now, but it took lots of work and growth. I’m still very far from being in the top 1% and am prepared for more challenges to come.

    Perhaps Kathy needs to get straight exactly what it is she wants to be the most positive outcome. Is it a pay raise? More respect and security on the job? Or what? This would help center her thoughts, visualizations and actions toward a positive outcome.

    Here’s something important that Jesus taught and it’s an expansion of suggestion # 1 you gave. He gave an illustration of how to pray, saying to believe that the desire has already been fulfilled and to thank the Father for fulfilling it. This has worked for me and countless others.

    Roberta, you know the Gospels like an expert, you might want to quote the exact passage of what I’m referring to and give your always outstanding commentary on it.

    1. Hi Michael! I agree with you – I always pray in gratitude affirmations. We already have every possible gift from God; it is up to us simply to claim what is ours, and it will manifest. I’m not sure exactly which passage you mean, but here is one that is on point:

      “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (MT 6:7-8)

      And my favorite!

      “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
      “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (MT 6:25-33)

      In my experience and as I minister to others, I find that this is profoundly true:

      “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure– pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (LK 6:38)

      Each of us already has the greatest abundance in our lives, although I know how difficult that is to believe if you haven’t experienced this phenomenon. If we thank God for whatever it is that we need, then we are claiming it. And if we give full attention to giving to others – even if we have no more than a widow’s mite to share – then whatever we give comes back to us a hundredfold.

      Thank you for your thoughts, Michael – wise and perceptive, as always!

      1. Thanks, Roberta. Those are all great quotes and right along the lines I was thinking of.

        But, I found the exact quote via Bible Gateway:

        “Therefore I say unto you, what things so ever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Mark 11:24 KJV

        As a side comment, I really like the current interview you have with Dr. Stafford Betty. Also, the recent one with Dr. Gary Schwartz. All of your interviews are top rate, but those stand out for me, of the ones of the last month or so.

        1. You’re right! Perfect! I know Mark less; I’m more of a Matthew adherent. And I think of this precious bit as part of the larger quotation about moving mountains. Here that whole wonderful quote is in NIV, for people who prefer simple English:

          “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (MK 11:22-24)

          Great, Michael – thank you!

          And I’m glad that you enjoyed Gary and Stafford – they are two of my favorite people. And such beautiful, brilliant scholars!

  3. Wonderful; the Light that THE LORD has enabled you to see is ex traordinary. Light and Love from the Father issue in Grace and Reality from the Son. If we follow His directions/words, by His Grace we have full access to the Throne of God, There by His Blood He is obligated to respond.AMEN!

    1. Hello dear Jeffrey! I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed this post. And what is most beautiful about our coming to better understand what Jesus actually said is that we are assured by Jesus now that there is no Throne. There is no need any longer for us to focus on the shedding of His Blood. There is no reason to fear! God is, and God always has been, pure and all-encompassing love as of a Parent for a best-beloved child. And God beckons now to each of us to come and learn from Jesus. After two thousand years, we at last understand the sweet call of our Elder Brother and Best Friend as He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (MT 11:27-30)

  4. Thank you for this, Roberta. And thank you for sharing that great item with Kathy. Here’s the rest of it:

    Thank you for giving me good work to do. Thank you for showing me how to do it.
    Thank you for giving me good people to love. Thank you for showing me how to love them.
    Thank you for giving me a good life to live. Thank you for showing me how to live it.

    I believe that these are very powerful words. When you say them, and own them, you take your power to make your life better–no matter what kind of life contract you happened to have signed up for as a human being!

    1. My goodness, Mary, thank you! And I had always thought that I made up “Thank You for giving me work to do. Thank You for showing me how to do it.” Perhaps I must have heard this somewhere, and internalized it? The rest of it is beautiful!

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