From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
In order for a tree or any plant to grow and bear fruit, its seed must first be planted in the ground and die. In order for fruit to appear in our lives, the Word of God must be planted in our hearts and then we must die to self, making Christ the center of our lives.
In the face of chastening, adversity, discipline, and affliction, fruit begins to appear, because the Holy Spirit is strengthening us and the attributes of the Lord begin to manifest themselves in our thinking and in our actions.
This process, like steel which has been tempered and made strong by the heat of a furnace, makes us useful to God. But what baby is sent out to fight a battle? The baby must first grow in strength, in size, and in wisdom before he is able to fight. It is the same for those whom God wishes to use.
Joseph would never have been of use to God had he not been sold into slavery by brothers who hated him and was later wrongly accused and put in prison. Joseph had to wait two more years for release from prison. All of this was God’s preparation for Joseph’s ultimate rise to a position of power and authority second only to that of Pharaoh himself, a position Joseph used to feed all of Israel during a famine.
As we wait upon the Lord, God may sometimes seem slow in coming to help us, but He never comes too late. His timing is always perfect.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control … And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. … Let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-25).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)