Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fruitfulness: A Principle for a Successful Life

It’s a big thing when an author extracts a new principle from God’s Word, even if it is only new because we have never seen it as a principle before.

Edward A. Smith’s book, Fruitfulness: Seven Secrets to Getting More Out of Life (Vision Publishing, $8.99, ISBN: 978-0-9762730-3-5) uncovers such a principle. The book can be purchased soon through Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, and other major online booksellers.

Smith is founding pastor of ZOE Christian Fellowship of Whittier.

He deserves a salute.

Unfurl the flag!

Strike up the band!

Shout the glory!

What Smith has uncovered could greatly impact the body of Christ.

It’s the principle of bearing fruit and multiplying.

Oh, I know. You’ve heard the term “be fruitful and multiply” before. But consider this:

Every living thing in Creation has the same mandate: Be fruitful and multiply.

With God, this is not an option. He expects fruitfulness from whatever He created. Every time God told the earth to bring forth something it did

Genesis 1:12:
And the earth brought forth grass, and the herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

“God established that everything in the earth must be fruitful.” Smith writes. “Notice, the earth that He created did what He told it to do; that is, create after its kind and bear fruit. When the creation did that, He called it good. Now ‘good ground’ by definition is ground that bears fruit. God called his creation good because it bore fruit.”

But guess what?

God also commanded fruitfulness of Adam and Eve.
And, of course, you and me.

“You don’t have an option as to whether or not to bear fruit,” Smith tells us. “Evidently, the fruit you produced last year is not enough. It may have been enough for last year, but it does not satisfy your responsibility to bear fruit this year.”

As an example, let’s say you have an apple tree that has continually brought forth apples year after year. It’s being fruitful; it’s being productive. But multiplying is another stage, and it goes far beyond simply being fruitful. If you want to multiply you have to produce more trees.

To multiply you take seed from one tree and plant others. In fact, plant an orchard. If your one tree produces ten baskets of apples a year, consider what a hundred or a thousand trees can produce.

It seems so simple, so obvious. But if most people look at their lives they can identify a lack of productivity, a lack of fruitfulness.

Smith believes that in today’s world people have learned to accept the lack of productivity as being okay. But God says it’s not okay. It’s going against the way we’re designed.

Smith explains another problem as well. Many people see God’s principles as techniques rather than truths.

“If you see scripture as a truth, you will apply it in every area of your life,” he writes. “Conversely, if you view it as a technique you only use it in the area in which you learned it.

“In college I studied physics and structural engineering. I learned principles from these disciplines while applying them to various structures such as a hospital building. If I view what I learned as a technique then I will think that all I can build with the knowledge of physics and structural engineering are hospitals. I won’t know that I can also build a church or a skyscraper.”

It’s the same with the principle of sowing and reaping, according to Smith. Most people apply the principle of sowing and reaping to the financial arena, but fail to see its application to other areas of life such as marriage. Many men and women keep constant watch over their investments in real estate, stocks, and bonds, but they have no idea why their marriages, which they routinely ignore, are failing.

In marriage, as in so many other areas of life, you have to give what you want in return, Smith says.

He reminds us of another critical oversight Christians often make. Our lives work best when they are connected to the power source. As John 15:3-4, 7 says:

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
…If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

There is no question that many people succeed outside of Christ, but what kind of success is it? Does it endure? Does it engender peace, joy? Or does it cause, worry and ulcers?
Smith continues:

“One of the reasons God requires us to be fruitful and multiply is to effectively have dominion and expand His purpose and glory throughout the earth. In Genesis 1:26, God said, Let us make man in our image…”

“God wants us to be like Him, to follow His pattern. God has authority over the whole universe, but he delegated dominion on the earth to man. We are to multiply and expand God’s influence throughout the earth, not just the local community or city.”

So here are Smith’s seven secrets?
· Fruitfulness is a principle, not a technique
· Fruitfulness is a part of your purpose
· Stay connected to the source
· Give what you want to get in return
· Multiplying is the highest level of fruitfulness
· Multiplying is duplicating your success
· Your harvest is in your seed

“There is a direct connection between being fulfilled and satisfied in your life and bearing fruit,” Smith writes. “People who are fruitful in their lives are happier people. They’re getting results and they’re pleased with themselves. They’re bearing fruit. They’re doing what they were born to do.”

Something about reading Fruitfulness: Seven Secrets to Getting More Out of Life puts a spur in your side. It’s impossible to read this book without both seeing your failing and being inspired by how much more God wants to do your life.

The great thing about God is He never counts you out. As long as there’s breath in your body, you have a chance to be fruitful.

And multiply.

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