Check Your Fruit
Back in the first years of living in our house my father-in-law gave us a Mexican lime tree, still in its infant stages, to plant in our back yard. We use the small Mexican lime in a lot of our cooking and to make fresh limonada (limeade) throughout the year. I was thrilled to finally have my own tree to pull the fruit from!
Many experienced gardeners will tell you (as they have told me, repeatedly) that fruit trees can take several years to finally bear fruit. Patience is required. Full disclosure: I am not the most patient person when it comes to plants. I want to see a mature garden within a few months of planting baby bulbs and bushes! This is why I do not garden for fun, people.
So, when Little Limey took her spot in our backyard, I resigned myself to a year of no fruit; but truth be told, I really had thought in my heart of hearts that fruit might come anyway. Everything is possible!
Alas. No fruit. Nothing. Nada.
I stopped even thinking about Little Limey, even kinda’ ignoring her because she was unfruitful. But my husband still patiently watered her (yes, he is a better person than me). And the sun still shone down on her daily. And she did start to grow tremendously tall, her branches stretching out high and low like gangly teenage arms and legs. We had someone come and prune her, trimming her down a bit, reigning in her fruitless wildness. I still didn’t give her much thought. I had lost faith that any fruit would come out of her anytime soon.
But then, one day in her third year we saw tiny green limes starting to grow on the branches.
I was so excited!
And they were good. Tasted just right, with plenty of juice.
Psalm 1 talks about the person who delights in the law (the Word and will) of the Lord, who thinks continually about God’s ways and what He has said. This person will become like a tree planted by a river, receiving light and sun day by day. This person will give fruit in his or her season, will never wither (dying from lack of sunlight or water), and whatever he or she does will prosper. What an image! When I read this Psalm, I immediately thought of Limey, how I had given up on her fruitfulness, when in fact the watering and the sun were causing her roots to grow deep and her branches to stretch high and low in order to be able to produce and carry all of those juicy limes!
When we spend time reading God’s word and then meditate on it throughout the day, we are nourished, our spirit strengthened and our soul aligned to the thoughts of God. Day by day our roots grow deeper. We are changing more and more into His likeness. We become mature and begin to produce good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). We are able to love others well, have joy even in difficult situations, experience peace when crisis comes, be patient and longsuffering as we wait for people or circumstances to transform. We can show kindness even to the most difficult of people, give a gentle answer rather than react in anger, and have self-control when tempted to be undisciplined or unloving to ourselves or others.
The fruit that God produces in our lives is not for our own consumption only, but fruit that will also be enjoyed and experienced by others. Since Limey the lime tree has come to live with us, I have done a lot of reflecting on the fruit that I show in my own life. It’s not always a pretty sight. Just like a fruit tree, when there has not been enough sun or water it will be evident in the quality of fruit. When I haven’t gotten enough Son-light (time with Him) or water of His word my fruit is pretty dismal. My lack of love towards others, my growing impatience with people, anxiety when situations arise…these are all glaring signs that my fruit is turning and I need to get back into Son and Word.
We all need to check our fruit every so often. How’s yours? If you’re not seeing healthy fruit in your life, check your heart and check your season. Sometimes it’s the season you’re in – some types of fruit are seasonal, and it might be that your roots and limbs are stretching. But many times the problem is in the heart – our lack of communion with Him and meditation on His word.
I encourage you today to drink Him in. Do it daily! Our lives can’t help but respond to His presence, and you will begin to see the tremendous fruit that will begin being produced in you.
He is with you –
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.