Fruit Picking

It was red…it was dangling right within my reach…so I picked it…my first apple. I grew up in apple country. Both of my parents grew up in farming families. One of my fondest memories as a young girl was getting in the car and simply riding with my parents to the apple orchard to pick apples every September.

I remember so well doing that for the first time…picking apples on a Saturday morning. I can remember looking at the rows and rows of trees and seeing ladders filled with people picking apples. I can remember hearing my dad crunching and turning to see him take a bite of one as we were picking. I was thrilled to realize I could pick and eat because the fruit was ripe and ready.

He also loved to take us to the grapevines to pick scuppernongs…a grape. I absolutely loved eating them as I picked them. Funny thing…I never expected to pick an apple from the grapevines nor expected to get grapes from the apple trees. I am so blessed to have these “hands on” memories, especially when I read God’s word. There are a ton of farming analogies in the Bible and they create quite a visual for me because of how I grew up!

For example, in Luke 6:43-45 we find, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in he heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

Even though people cannot read our mind nor can they see our heart or our motives, they can hear what we say and watch what we do. That is our “fruit”. It is either apples, grapes, bananas, watermelons, strawberries or blueberries…..all sweet, nourishing and desirable. Or it can be persimmons….bitter…unpleasant and undesirable. The great news is that we, with God’s help, can change bad, bitter fruit…into sweet, nourishing fruit…or we can make the fruit we produce sweeter and more desirable.

In order for a fruit tree to produce the very BEST fruit, it has to be watered, fertilized, pruned and protected against insects (the enemy) with insecticide. I love God’s analogies. People need the same thing. In order to produce the best, most desirable fruit, we have to be:

>watered by the Word–Psalm 1:1-3, “Blessed is the one…but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.”
>fertilized with prayer–James 5:16, “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
>pruned/disciplined–Hebrews 12:11, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
>and know how to combat our enemy with the right insecticide…full armor of God–Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Point of post….for me and for you….what kind of fruit are we producing? Does our tree need more water, fertilizer, pruning or insecticide? Or all of the above? Do we look tasteful on the outside but on the inside…are we rotten and bitter?

It is not a question of “if” we are producing fruit because we all are. The question is “WHAT KIND?” By knowing us, do people see Christ? Do they want what we have? Or are we sending mixed messages?

“Is this idea of the non-fruit bearing Christian something that we have concocted in order to make Christianity ‘easier?’ …so that we can follow our own course while still calling ourselves followers of Christ?” ~Francis Chan

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