“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”John 15:5
My dad has always loved fruit trees because he loves their fruit. Not having to pay for the fruit in the grocery store is an even better selling point for him, so when he bought his new home, he decided to plant two fruit trees, one of which was a small lemon tree. My dad loves lemons and his constant request at any restaurant is an abundant supply of lemons. The server may bring him a lemon slice or two, but this does little to satisfy my dad’s insatiable appetite for lemons in his iced tea. By the end of the meal, it is more lemon than tea, and I am sometimes surprised that my dad has any enamel left on his teeth due to acidity of the lemons. I like lemons, but I am not sure anyone loves lemons quite like my dad does.
The little lemon tree in his back yard has now grown out of control, and there are enough lemons on that tree to satisfy even my dad’s appetite for them. This lemon tree dwarfs the adjacent orange tree, and it did not even require Miracle Grow. The tree gets plenty of sunshine and water, and there is no doubt that it is living an abundant life. The tree branches have stretched out to cover a quarter of the yard, and the branches are so filled with fruit that they hang low to the ground. My dad has done his best to support the branches with sticks to hold them up as the weight of the fruit pulls them close to the ground. I don’t think I would be able to count all of the fruit on this tree, and I know many hours will be spent collecting lemons.
The orange tree in the yard bears fruit as well, but it pales in comparison to the lemon tree. It does not quite get the same amount of sun, and I am confident it will never grow to the height and girth of the lemon tree. I imagine the tree was not meant to be the biggest tree, but yet it still yields fruit. It will never be quite like the other tree, but it is yielding the fruit God designed it to bring forth. I know when we prune these trees, the branches will wither and die. They may look good for a day or two, but it will soon be evident they are no longer abiding as part of the tree. Their fruit-yielding days will be over, and they will soon be discarded in a landfill. The branch is dependent on the tree, and without that source, the branch will wither and die.
I think of the Christian life and how it is imperative that I am abiding in Christ. If I am not walking with Him and living for Him, then I will bear no fruit. My branches will remain barren if I am not abiding in Him. Abiding in Christ is walking with Him and agreeing with Him on everything. If I hope to bear fruit and make an impact on eternity, then I must walk with Him. When I do not bear fruit, my branches will look like they need to be cut off and placed in the trash can.
I want my life – my tree – to be filled with fruit for the kingdom, and I want my fruit to be enjoyed for all eternity. I seek to abide in Him and He in me, so that I may be all that He has designed and created me for. I want to fulfill His purpose and will, and do not want to simply fog a mirror. God has created us for His purpose, and His purpose for us is that we might produce fruit. We must realize we are helpless without Him, but with Him, we can do all things.
What type of Christian are you? Is your tree filled with fruit, or is it a sad, barren tree? Do your branches hang low due to the amount of fruit on them, or is it not clear that you are a fruit tree at all? Are you trying to live this Christian life on your own or are you fully dependent on the One who is the source of all things? May we desire to bear much fruit, and may we depend on God to give us fruit that will impact the kingdom for all eternity.