“I went down into the garden of nuts, to see the green plants of the valley, to see whether the vine budded and the pomegranates were in flower.” vs11
The Lord Jesus inspects us, so let us be watchful. Guard your souls, dear brothers, by keeping an eye on your heart. Make sure that you are full of love, faith, and liveliness. Do not be carried away by the current of this world, but suffer for the Savior and deny yourself with joy. Commit these things to prayer! We must be revived by Jesus Christ.
I was reading Jonathan Edwards today, thinking about his “Resolutions”, and this came from his pen:
“It seemed yesterday, the day before, and Saturday, that I should always retain the same resolutions to the same height. But alas! how soon do I decay! O how weak, how infirm, how unable to do anything of myself! What a poor inconsistent being! What a miserable wretch, without the assistance of the Spirit of God! While I stand, I am ready to think that I stand by my own strength, and upon my own legs; and I am ready to triumph over my spiritual enemies, as if it were I myself that caused them to flee: — when alas! I am but a poor infant, upheld by Jesus Christ; who holds me up, and gives me liberty to smile to see my enemies flee, when he drives them before me.
And so I laugh, as though I myself did it, when it is only Jesus Christ leads me along, and fights himself against my enemies. And now the Lord has a little left me, how weak do I find myself! O let it teach me to depend less on myself, to be more humble, and to give more of the praise of my ability to Jesus Christ!” (Jan 15, 1722)
Yes, we must praise God for our fruitfulness and depend on Him to stir it up! We can’t do this ourselves, and we’ll have seasons of discouragement. Downright COLDNESS will come upon us, and it must be fought by the gospel.
Confess how weak and wicked you are, how you can do nothing except He leads you. He says, “Stay in me, and I will stay in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you stay in me (John 15:4).” Look to Him for sovereign grace and mercy, when the world allures you mightily. Do not be content with coldness, but turn your heart to Him.
One of the chief fruits of godliness is a broken heart; it is confessing and acknowledging that even though we have imputed righteousness, we demand in holy humility that God give us fruitfulness as well. “Hannah, why are you crying?’ Her husband Elkanah asked. ‘Why won’t you eat? Why are you troubled? Am I not better to you than 10 sons?” It is Jacob not letting Him go, Hannah giving glory to the Lord, and it is us obtaining mercy as helpless creatures who depend on Him and push with all of our might (1 Sam 16:30).
Brothers, coldness is normal from time to time, but woe unto us if we live in it. Do not give your life to the little foxes that spoil the vine (Song 2:14). Look up to Christ for grace and know the broken, helpless, trembler is accepted. “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word (Isa 66:2).”
We want fruit because He wants fruit, so let our love be full and our hearts excited.