From Jesus I Meet Two Bears

GodReflection: Share It Again

From childhood I was introduced to the story of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears. As she wonders through the forest she comes upon a little house, knocks on the door, and enters to find no bears at home. On the table before her was soup that was too hot, too cold, and one was just right. Chairs did not fit and the one that did—breaks. Beds were too hard, too soft, and just right. With a play on words Goldilocks and her bears fable is designed to introduce children to life’s realities. There is a lot to bear.

Jesus uses two bears—not the woodsy type—to teach us to live now so that we can anticipate a fruit-filled life with him forever. I learn that I am to bear. His apostles continue the theme and mirror his instructions.

First, Jesus teaches me that I am to bear up under heavy loads. It sounds a lot like work. I don’t receive any sense that bear is a passive action. One image that comes to mind is a burden-filled backpack strapped on my shoulders for the duration of my walk across life. To bear is not a concept that comes to mind to describe the feeble and the frail. To bear is robust. To bear comes from Holy Spirit power.

The heavy act of the word bear causes me a sense of discomfort. There is also power in the uncomfortable sound of the word. I more readily associate this aspect of to bear with the picture of cross-carrying. Both Peter and Paul understood fully the lifestyle of the cross. To be a follower of Jesus is to be willing to bear—or to carry—his cross.

I learn from Peter that I am to bear up under the pain of unjust suffering and even more so if my suffering comes because I bear the name of Christian (1 Peter 2:19 and 4:16).

From Paul I am encouraged to help bear another’s load and to bear the failings of the weak. He teaches me to bear up under temptation knowing God will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I am able to bear (Romans 15:1 and 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Here comes the real biggie. I am to bear those who wrong me and forgive as the Lord forgave me (Colossians 3:13). I still work on that one.

The second to bear Jesus shares with me appears somewhat easier. It just seems less cross heavy although it is tied closely to his cross. I am to bear fruit. This bear is robust and strong. This bear serves, teaches, loves, and cares. This to bear does not bring about mistaken identity. By good fruit all know the bearer is grafted into Jesus. This to bear is likewise powered by the Spirit. Such power bears good and succulent Jesus’ fruit.

Non-bearers are pruned and thrown into the fire (Matthew 7:20). Non-bearers are easy for the gardener Father to recognize—there’s no fruit.

Here’s the good news. It comes directly from the mouth of Jesus, I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

. . . Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me”.

I bear fruit only as the direct result of remaining in Jesus.

There is something positive and attractive in Jesus’s invitation to participant with him as together we spread juicy grapes, golden pears, and sparkling apples of his goodness. Then watch as young trees begin to grow and mature prior to becoming prolific fruit producers.

However, I remind myself that I am not a young tree. I’m at the stage in life when to bear should be front and center stage in my walk. Will you pray with me that it is so for my life? And, likewise, I pray to bear also will be at the heart of your walk with Jesus.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on From Jesus I Meet Two Bears.

2 thoughts on “From Jesus I Meet Two Bears

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