“Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature … has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.” (Romans 1:20)
Jesus sometimes used examples from God’s creation to convey his message. In John 12:24 Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” I keep hearing from many sources that there is an epidemic of loneliness in this country. I read in Erich Fromm’s book “The Art of Loving” that the only way to overcome that loneliness is through the fusion of real love. And in Scott Peck’s book “The Road Less Travels” he says you must expand your ego boundaries to include others. The Franciscan Priest Richard Rohr says you must allow your ego-based False Self to die in order to find your True Self. The False Self is a small and thus lonely self, because it is mostly concerned about itself.
But your True Self is the self buried deep within us that God created in his image, and which is unconditional love for everyone. When you bring people into your heart and love them there, you will not feel lonely.
But how do we find this True Self? In Luke 11:9 Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given you.” But what will be given you is revealed in Luke 11:13, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” It is a spirit like God’s, like his Holy Spirit, that God placed in us when he created us in his image, which he has already given us.
Yet Richard Rohr recognizes that we will develop an ego-based self first in life, and he says we must do this, because we can not give up something we do not have. In nature no plant bears fruit until it has matured sufficiently. When I woke up this morning I had the idea for this column. Yet as I fixed and ate breakfast I allowed it to mature.
But plants can have different natures. Thus some bear good fruit and some bear bad fruit. So if we do not tap into the Holy Spirit in our maturing, we may be led astray and bear bad fruit or no fruit at all. Interestingly the plant never gets to profit from its fruit. It must give it away for others to eat, or it will not propagate its species. Therefore the ego-based small self will not really bear useful fruit, which would be good fruit. Only by living from your True Self, which is rooted in God’s Spirit, will you mature into someone who bears good, that is, Godly fruit. Indeed, in John 15:5 Jesus says, I am the vine you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is who bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
You can look at Galatians 5:22-23 to judge how much you bear the fruit of the Spirit, such as, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” These are signs that you abide in Jesus and he abides in you. And they sound like fruit that is good for everyone, as God intended when he created us to love like him.