Ok, who reading this REALLY knows what an apple tree leaf looks like? Pear tree? Banana Tree? I am sure some of you do, especially my lovely friend in agriculture/horticulture (whatever its called! haha)! Woohoo, Cheryl I am giving you a shout out! However, most of us remember a tree by what kinds of fruit they have. I don’t know about you but I LOVE apples! Well, love many kinds of fruits, many of which, in fact, grow on trees. But I can honestly tell you, I dont know, or care really, what those trees leaves look like. I remember them by their fruits and enjoy them because of the fruit they produce. Ok, so you are probably wondering where I am going with all, of this, so here it goes. . .
Most of you know that Andrew and I are planning to relocate soon to begin a new church. Our vision that God gave us for that church also incorporates trees into how we explain what that vision is. So whenever I see anything about the life cycle of a tree it gets me interested. So I happen to see something neat that said we don’t remember trees by their leaves, even their blossoms, but by their fruits (the Bible even says this here). I thought this was very neat and very true. This is also true in our Christian lives. In fact, the Lord states that we will be known by our “fruits.” There are even several “fruits” of the Spirit the Bible talks about. See here and here. The Bible has so many many many verses about how Christians will be known by their fruit, NOT what they look like, dress like on Sunday morning, talk like, what version of the Bible they use, or if they DARE listen to anything other than hymns! NO! We are known by the fruit we bear, by HOW we live our lives for Christ, and if others can see Christ in us. What good would we be as Christ-followers if we just “played the part” on Sunday, but continued living in sin? If we never impacted anyone for the kingdom? Never sowed any seeds among the disconnected? Listening to hymns and playing “dress up” for church gets us no where and will produce NO fruits! As Christ-followers, we have to get our hands dirty to produce fruit, just as someone working in the garden, vineyard, or orchard has to get their hands dirty to produce wonderful fruit for harvest. It takes work! Christ even gives a parable about how those who truly accept His word will produce fruit, and compares it to those who accept, but don’t live by it, and to those who don’t accept at all (see here). We also NEED Christ in order to bear fruit! (see here). Take some time to read through the gospels, even most of the New Testement, and you will find references EVERYWHERE to fruit and being known by your fruit. There is even some verses in Ephesians that say if someone claims Christ, but produces nothing, lives in sin, and acts like a non-believer, we are supposed to treat them as such! WOW that is scary! People! We need to constantly be looking at our lives and asking ourselves “Have I produced any fruit today?” Do I claim Christ, but do nothing to live for Him? Or do my actions and my life show that I live for Christ and am a Christ-Follower? I even have to give myself a mental check at times, we all do, especially when trials come. However, no one said that being a Christ-follower would be easy, pain-free, hurt-free, it isn’t, but it is worth it! It does take hard work sometimes, but the promise is, we are not in it alone. Christ dwells in and among us, strenghthing us, providing our root system so that our tree can bear good, and much, fruit! So I challenge you to think along with me this week about the fruits you are producing and how we can produce even more! God Bless!