The Trees Are Bearing Fruit Again

Fear not, Earth! Be glad and celebrate! God has done great things. Fear not, wild animals! The fields and meadows are greening up. The trees are bearing fruit again: a bumper crop of fig trees and vines! Children of Zion, celebrate! Be glad in your God. He’s giving you a teacher to train you how to live right— Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do. And plenty of food for your body—silos full of grain, casks of wine and barrels of olive oil.

Joel 2:23

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Why is it so hard to follow God?

Youth for Christ

Youth for Christ

The Bible teaches clearly that the various challenges or hardships Christians face may at times result from God’s choosing to discipline us, in order to make us more faithful to Him. From time to time, a conversation will reveal problems and troubles that seem to indicate that God is dealing with the inquirer in this way.

Discipline from the Lord Is a Scriptural Concept

“Blessed is the man you discipline, O Lord; the man you teach from your law; you grant him relief from days of trouble” (Psalm 94:12–13, NIV).

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:11–12, NIV).

Discipline Is Desirable, Considering the Alternatives

“So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them” (Psalm 106:15, NIV).

“I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:27, NIV).

God Has Good Reasons for Disciplining Us

1. He wants to lead us to repentance: “Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us” (2 Corinthians 7:9, NIV).

  1. He wants to restore us to fellowship: “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ”
    (1 John 1:3).

  2. He wants to make us more faithful: “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2, NIV).

  3. He wants to keep us humble: “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:7–9, NIV).

  4. He wants to teach us spiritual discernment: “But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:31–32, NIV).

  5. He wants to prepare us for more effective service: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).