“Make your home in me, and I will make my home in you.” – Jesus

EXPLORATION 6 | Obstacles to Fruitfulness

Spiritual Direction

Literacy rates in Biblical times were 1-3%. Only select religious officials had access to scrolls. People heard Scripture read on market days, in the synagogue on the Sabbath, and through oral tradition passed on in the home. Remembering Scripture involved hagah, [1] quietly repeating it over and over. Hagah, “the thinking of the heart,” is to work out the personal meaning of God’s word. Our work here has a long tradition.


Fear is the enemy of fruitfulness. It can show up as a deep sense of worthlessness. Life can be dreary, stagnant, and routine, filled with busyness but seldom deeply satisfying. This is the experience of living without bearing fruit. “My voice doesn’t matter … I can’t understand what is happening in the world … I have nothing to offer …” Productivity can also be a form of fear. When fear dominates our lives and our value is at stake, we often turn to productivity for validation. Instead of receiving gifts of fruitfulness, we try to create results on our own. Productivity cannot provide the deep sense of belonging and purpose we crave.

When our value as human beings depends on what we make with our hands and minds, we become victims of the fear tactics of our world. When productivity is our main way of overcoming self-doubt, we are extremely vulnerable to human rejection and criticism and prone to inner anxiety and depression.[2]

God’s love frees us from fear. “There is no fear in love; perfect love casts out all fear.”[3]


What keeps you from living out God’s purpose and possibilities for your life?

  1. “The Bible as Jewish Meditation Literature—Jewish Scripture Meditation vs Modern Meditation,” The Bible Project,  https://bibleproject.com/podcast/how-read-bible-part-1-reading-bible-aloud-community/, podcast.
  2. “The House of Love,” Henri Nouwen, Sojourners, June 14, 1985.
  3. I John 4:18 ESV.