When I was a kid, my brothers and I used to have fruit wars in the alley behind our home. We’d get our friends, several metal garbage cans with lids, tons of fruit from the neighbor trees, both ripe and rotten, and off we went. Fruit Wars were a staple of my childhood.
“People man your battle stations! The fruit is fixing to fly!”
Imagination can be a good thing
The lids were our shields, the cans our forts. Then with very little skill, a hard throw and good aim, we’d nail each other with fruit. Depending on the condition of the lime or orange, AND your throw, you can inflict great pain in the other person, especially if you hit them square in the back and make juice. The key to victory is knocking down their makeshift fort, thus blasting them with rotten fruit. In the end, it is obvious who is victorious and who smells fruitier.
Win or lose
What was the key to winning or losing the fruit war? It was the condition of the fruit.
Did you know that a newly ripe orange or lime flies faster than a rotten one? If you don’t believe me, go outside and test for yourself.
When I think of the prior blog, it reminds me of the fruit we are to bear. Is it ripe and beneficial for all to eat, or has our fruit shriveled up?
Are we bearing fruit as Jesus commanded?
He said in John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last. Then my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
Are we doing what Jesus commanded? Are we bearing fruit that will last?
Perhaps you are still tending to your vines, always watching and waiting for the fruit to appear. Maybe you are like I used to be – I didn’t know how to bear fruit.
Let’s remember something about fruit
The fruit brings to mind something essential for us to remember. All fruit comes from a seed. The seed is planted or dropped on the ground, sprouts and grows into a beautiful tree, and in the season produces much fruit.
Maybe you have an orange tree in your yard. Perhaps you have a lemon tree. By the way, lemons hurt worse when if you are hit because of the tips on them. I’m not trying to say I know from experience – well, maybe a tad bit.
Get to the point
My point is the fruit didn’t just appear. It went through a process. The fruit started as a seed and made the long journey out to the end of the branch. Through the journey, it experienced many seasons. The fruit endured blazing hot summers or battled freezing temperatures. The fruit tree became the home of many of natures animals like birds, squirrels, and butterflies. And in a lot of cases, it endured pruning, painful pruning which helps fruit trees grow. The fruit appears, but after experiencing many changes and environments.
What else does the Bible say?
Look at what Jesus said in John 15: 1-2, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit. ”
Fruit and Jesus?
The grapevine was a symbol of a single vine that supports many branches and bears many grapes. Christ is the vine, and God is the gardener who cares for the branches to make them fruitful. The branches are all those who claim to be followers of Christ.
I promised that I would talk about fruit bearing and non-fruit bearing. What does that mean anyway? How does one go about producing fruit? Is pruning painful?
Let’s go back to John 15:1-3, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit. You are clean already because of the word that I have spoken to you.”
What does this look like?
I mentioned that fruitful branches are true believers in Christ. You can tell by their daily living and union with Christ. They produce much fruit. But there are those who are unproductive – they don’t produce fruit. Those are the ones who have turned back from following Christ. They made a superficial commitment to Him, and in doing so, they will be separated from the vine.
Who’s the vine? Jesus.
Who are the branches? We are.
What are we supposed to do? Produce fruit.
Here’s another example
A seed is planted in the ground. After a bit, it starts to take root. Then we see the seed sprout and break forth from the soil. It’s growing, and we can see evidence of the growth because we can see the tiny green sprouts.
But after awhile, its branches turn and begin to coil, retreating from fully sprouting to the point of extending and producing little fruit. Like an unproductive fruit tree, unproductive followers are of no use and will be cut off and tossed aside.`
Am I growing or retreating?
I think it is essential that we ask ourselves the question – Am I growing in a way that one day will produce fruit? Or have I retreated? Am I separated from the vine? Have I hit the ground, been tossed aside? An honest assessment of ourselves is a good thing.
I thank you, Lord, for taking something so simple as a fruit tree and using it to get the point across in our lives. It is something we are all familiar. Father, if there is someone in our life which has turned back from you, not wanting to blossom and produce or even seek you right now, Lord we pray for them to find you now. We stand in the gap for them and ask for you to water them, to be a gardener to them so that they may turn to you. Father, we ask for forgiveness of our sins and to cleanse us anew. In your Sons name, I pray all these things, Amen.
In His Service,
Jeanette Duby, The Teaching Lady
#fruit #bridgetogracefl #pruning #theteachinglady