A few weeks ago I found myself with a strong craving for some fruit. I hadn’t been eating the healthiest the last couple of days and I knew I needed some sort of fiber in my diet (yes I know too much information). I normally keep apples, bananas, and or grapes in the house, however this particular day I couldn’t even find a raisin to satisfy my cravings. Going to the grocery store was not an option that evening for whatever reason, so I just had to wait.
Thinking back a few weeks ago of that minor situation reminded me of a very serious illustration that Jesus made in Matthew 21 verses 18 through 22. Most of us are familiar with this story but for those who aren’t here is a quick review. Jesus was hungry and He saw a fig tree from a distance. When He came closer He discovered there wasn’t a single fig on the tree. Jesus then says “May no fruit ever come from you again!”. The figtree then withers and dies. His disciples, amazed, asked Jesus how He did it. Jesus let them know if you have faith and don’t doubt they can move mountains. Yes Jesus was giving His disciples a lesson in faith, however if we look at the Gospels in their entirety there is another principle here.
When Jesus is looking for fruit it’s best to give it to Him. There are more than a few passages in the bible that relate mankind to trees that bear fruit. The fruit that we yield can be our actions, attitudes, influence, and behavior. The quality of the fruit depends on whether we are obedient (good) or disobedient (bad) to our Lord. Before we encountered Christ we could expect to produce a half moldy barely editable peach at best. However because we are transformed we are expected to “produce fruit consistent with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). When Jesus encounters a tree (person), He expects it to produce fruit. When we meet Jesus I mean genuinely meet Him, we are expected to repent. When that happens the tree we used to be is now able to produce the tastiest fruits by the power of the Holy Spirit. Not mangos, bananas, plums, or peaches, but love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (check out Galatians 5:22-23). Hallelujah we are no longer bad trees but good trees by faith in Jesus. We know what happens to be bad trees, they get thrown into the fire (see Matthew 7:19).
“Remain in me and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.” – John 15:4
There is only one way to produce good fruit and that is surrender. If we take the same concept and look at John chapter 15, Jesus says, “Remain in me and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.” As long as we continue to remain and abide in Jesus we will produce fruit, He himself is the key to producing the good fruit that He wants. If we remain in His Word, In His teachings, and In His presence we will have no choice but to bring forth the good acts that will transform the atmosphere around us. When we sincerely want to abide in Him our desires will begin to align with His and we will speak life into the people around us, as posed to sin against our fellow man. Both believers and unbelievers will know us by our good fruit and bringing our Father in heaven glory. But we can’t do it without Jesus. When I sit and think about it, Jesus really takes the pressure off myself and my own abilities and makes it all about what He can do through me. If we sincerely desire to die to ourselves daily, the Father will cut off anything in our lives that isn’t producing good fruit. At the end of the day the only reason that a believer is not producing is because that believer is not trusting in Christ. May we all hold on to Jesus and never let go. Give Him His Fruit. Much love.