Friday, December 2, 2011

Got Fruit?

Do you love my poinsettia? Isn’t it the prettiest holiday plant you’ve ever seen? Don’t you want to run out and purchase one just like it?! Hardly! Did you even recognize it as a poinsettia? I received it from my big sis last Christmas season and have somehow managed to keep it alive the entire year. However, I grow more and more frustrated as I look at it each day, desiring for it to produce the red poinsettia leaves it once bore. Now, I know it won’t. I know it’s going to remain the way it is because I didn’t take the time to put it in a dark room so it could produce its leaves this Christmas season. Honestly, I’m ready to throw it out! I want to be rid of it and go purchase one filled with crimson red leaves! Recalling the fig tree Jesus caused to wither for lack of production (Mk 11:12-14, 20-21) leads me to seriously consider throwing that poinsettia out and teaching it a similar lesson.

Perhaps rather, my poinsettia is teaching me a lesson. Maybe it’s screaming at me that as a disciple of Jesus, I MUST bear fruit (Jn 15:8). Yes, sunlight and water has sustained it, just as the Son’s Light and Living Water will sustain me. However, unless it is kept in just the right conditions, it’s not going to bear the red leaves it was created to bear. Likewise, I will not bear the fruit I am designed for unless I am abiding in my Savior, being pruned and shaped by Him (Jn 15:1-8).

I read an article the other day of a mango tree that bears fruit all year round. Have you ever heard of such a thing? “The speciality of the tree is that its branches bear the fruits in different stages – from flowering to ripening – at the same time. While one branch has flowers, the others have matured mangoes.” Do you ever feel like this tree; like just when you figure one thing out and begin successfully bearing fruit in that area of your life, the other areas are completely undernourished and unfruitful? My thought- as long as you are bearing fruit, God is pleased to call you His disciple! We will never be perfect in every area of life and while those unfruitful areas seem useless at the moment, God is working, preparing them to bloom at any moment.

The article goes on to describe special irrigation and fertilizing techniques that make for the best fruit. As we are irrigated with Christ’s Living Water, fertilized by His Word daily, and pruned by Him in fellowship, trials, and joys, He will be faithful to produce in us good fruit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
So, I think I will permit my poinsettia to live, continue watering it, moving it around as needed to get its proper sunlight.  I will also receive its daily reminders that I can simply survive this life we call the Christian walk, or I can be more like the mango tree, bearing fruit in and out of season, being clearly recognized as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

For she shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads
out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes;
but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the
year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
-Jeremiah 17:8

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