A planted seed may or may not grow into a fruitful tree. How can we make sure we are good fruit?
I held it expectantly, full of hope for its inherent integrity. I savored the mouthwatering moment as I approached with open mouth anticipation, my swollen cheeks spilling a rush of saliva. I bit slowly at first and, feeling no resistance, pushed into the tender flesh of the peach that burst forth in succulent sweetness, spraying my mouth in sublime joy!
I reached with my hand to dam the dribbling juices, not willing to lose even a rivulet or drop of such a wonderful piece of fruit. It didn’t last long, as I devoured it down to its kernel, sucking and nibbling on the pith that struggled to hang onto the pit.
I wonder if you’re like me. I think a great piece of fruit deserves to have its pit laid in the place of honor on the kitchen counter, believing it will be available for planting to produce a little plant that will one day become a wonderful tree providing excellent peaches. It usually remains there, dormant and forgotten over the weeks, until it is thrown away in the garbage can of lost hopes. Or, it makes its way to the desk drawer where important stuff lays unattended, and promising things simply fade away into obscurity–kind of like good intentions.
However, we pay no mind to the disappointing fruit we eat, simply tossing the pit. Perhaps the peach was too green, too bland or just too mushy with hardly any juice. We wish we hadn’t taken the time to bite into it. Then we wonder if the others we bought that day will be as bad.
Do you think God loves a good peach? Would He set aside a good seed pit to plant and make more good peaches? What if we were like little peach plants growing up from such a seed? Are all peaches alike? We already know by experience that they are not. Can God change a sorry producing peach plant to a good one? Scripture says that He can. “…with God, nothing will be impossible” (Luke:1:37).
In Luke:8:11, we read, “The seed is the word of God.” God in His mercy and love has implanted this word in us, but if the seed lands on bad soil it will not grow. In other words, if we don’t accept what God gives us, we cannot thrive. In James:1:21 it says, it is the seed which is able to save our lives. In James:1:18, it says, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.”
Can our Christian path therefore be compared to the life of a peach? Let’s see. God plants good seed pits in pots of potentially rich soil. We are His soil, watered with living waters. All that is in the pot becomes as one: The soil (we are clay selected by the grace of God), the seed (the word of God), and the living waters (God’s Spirit).
We, as the soil, have our part to contribute as fertile ground. As Luke:8:15 says, if we receive the word with a noble and good heart, and keep it within us, we will (with perseverance) bear fruit. This is a process, and the process takes patience and endurance.
When planted, the lower surface of the seed eventually extends little roots like arms to receive the moisture and nutrients. The top surface of the kernel germinates with a clasp of little leaves clawing gently, but persistently, through the soil. As the tiny sprout springs forth, God and His Son nurture it tenderly, nourishing it in the warm light of love. This is our beginning.
The large pots are then moved away from protected areas, and the growing saplings are exposed to the elements. In their pots, they stand on solid ground, their scrawny branches and twigs covered in leaves. At times, tiny blossoms begin to show, with promise of good fruit to come.
Finally, the saplings are transferred into the earthly soil, where the roots begin to expand with the experience of life. The farm of their beginning is the church. The orchard they are planted in is their congregation. The saplings grow into trees, some already more mature than others. Now, the blossoms have the potential to turn into fruit.
The following description, although about apples, is also a good description of how peach blossoms turn into fruit. It is from www.tooter4kids.com.
“In spring, apple trees are covered in apple blossoms. In order for the blossoms to become apples, they must be cross-pollinated. This means that the pollen from one flower must travel to another before fertilization can occur. The creatures responsible for this important task are bees. When bees travel from blossom to blossom they collect pollen. Pollen is made by the stamens of the blossom. The bee drops pollen from the stamens of one blossom onto the pistils of another blossom. It is at this point that fertilization occurs. After fertilization, ovules within the ovary can become apple seeds.
“[As the] seeds begin to develop, the petals from the blossoms fall off. Next, the ovary starts growing. The ovary is surrounded by a thin protective layer. This layer eventually becomes the core line - or apple core. The outer layer surrounding the ovary becomes the exocarp, or the eating part of the apple. The calyx, stamens, and pistils become the dry, hairy part at the bottom of the apple.”
Here is the beauty in this maturing process. We are trees growing in our congregational orchards with the blossoms of promise on our mantles. We are in need of cross-pollination to bear fruit. The Holy Spirit moves about us like a bee, touching the very hearts of our being. It is the interaction we share in love and service in Jesus that will help the blossoms bear spiritual fruit.
This is a wonderful thing! Our former selves were nothing more than dormant dirt. All manner of things could grow wild out of us, but mostly weeds. God took our dirt and prepared it to receive the implanted word. The seed of the implanted word germinated into a plant that has become a tree. Our trees have grown and are becoming fruit bearers. This is spiritual fruit you are now bearing!
Romans:6:21 helps make it clearer: “What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” This is the fruit we were bearing in our fleshly former lives. We read in Romans:7:5, “For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.” How do you think that fruit tasted?
“But now,” (Romans:7:6), “we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” The point of this process is revealed in verse four, “…that we should bear fruit to God.”
Romans:6:22 says, “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” Brethren, we aren’t just slaves to God – we are privileged spiritual fruit bearers! We have the potential of producing good tasting fruit at that!
Here is a list of forces that affect the quality of the fruit. Sometimes we are the culprits.
- Too green–picked too soon–our fruit is immature, never ripens. Good intentions are not followed by good works.
- Packaging–produced to fit the mold–we keep being drawn to worldly ways and compromise the constancy and quality of our fruit.
- Appearance–pleasing to the eyes, but is it worthy? Is it sincere? Is it merely an imitation of genuine Christian fruit?
·Genetically modified–we have God’s spirit, His DNA, yet someone is there to try to change it. We may, in our nature, try to make God into our own image. Also, Satan wants us to be like him.
- We neglect our own care–we tumble down onto the rows of life, and get bruised in our fall, soiling ourselves.
- Firm on the outside–but weak and mushy on the inside. We seem good but our integrity and faith are weak.
Result: Garbage-prone seeds–we need work. We need to return to our Christian roots. We need to let Jesus intervene in our life–to renew and establish us as bearers of fruit unto God.
What can we do to produce good fruit?
- Honor God with our fruit–do all things as if unto God.
- Preserve your integrity–remember who we are and who we represent–God, Jesus, and the Kingdom of God.
- Hold your firmness of faith–the elements will test our faith and endurance–remain true to our calling.
- Be a pillar tree–let our light so shine that others may see our good works and glorify God.
- Be fragrant and pleasing–our labors of love and sharing are a pleasing aroma to God.
- Be savory and sweet–God loves a good peach. We strive earnestly to produce our best as an offering to Him.
Result: Place-of-honor seeds–we have been diligent in our Christian growth. Our Christianity is being brought to fruition.
Remember, God’s fruit is always genuine. His fruit-bearing servants have been:
- Planted in faith–God has confidence in His plan of salvation for us. When He began to work in us, He fully intended to complete the growth process. See Philippians 1:6, 10 & 11. We are God’s labor of love.
- Nourished by living waters–Christ loves His Church, His Bride, and He has provided the living waters to make her fruitful. See Song of Solomon:4:12-15. We are the trees in the garden.
·Nurtured to yield fruits of the spirit–see Galatians:5:22-23. God’s fruit bears the sweetness of these ingredients. They are infused into us by His Spirit.
Result: We are God’s fruit! We are the branches of the tree of Jesus, of God’s family, producing fruit unto God.
It says in Psalm:1:3, we will be like trees planted by the river’s sides. We have been tended diligently and lovingly from our very beginning as tiny plants, being protected from the elements, trained to stand firm, and pruned to perfection. To what end? Turn to Isaiah:61:3. It is “…that they”–meaning we, through all the adversity and challenge to grow to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ–“might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.” Finally, in verses 9-11, we can know just how special the seeds of our fruit will have been to God!
For more information on the process of bearing fruit to righteousness, request a free copy of Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion .