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"That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;" (Col 1:10).

We all enjoy some fruit in our diets and what it does for us in the way of nutrition. God also enjoys and receives honor and glory from His children who produce abundant spiritual fruit of good quality.

To produce spiritual fruit that's acceptable to God it is imperative that we be born again. as a wild tree (our evil nature) God has made a way for us to be grafted into a good tree so that we can bring forth good fruit (Rom 11). Thus being dead to self and connected to Jesus Christ we have a new source of nutrients and walk (grow) in newness of life (Rom 6:4).
a natural tree needs contact with water to grow and produce. We also need that living water. "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Ps 1:3). Faithfully partaking of God's word and drinking in the truths will assure us that we're on the way to producing fruit for Him.

The soil of our hearts must also be prepared. I can ever so faithfully read the Word but if it goes no further it avails little. We need to apply the truths (nutrients) God has for us. What is my spiritual receptivity?

A husbandman also strives to protect his trees from the severest of the elements and pests and diseases. In this 21st Century we find ourselves bombarded by many technological "advances" and how to relate to them. Where are we planted? "Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing" (Ps 92:13,14). The old saying is "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". We need to be careful in where we go and what we allow. In ourselves we're no match for the onslaughts (pests and diseases) of Satan.

Probably the most difficult area in fruit bearing is the pruning and chastening (correction) that is needed both naturally and spiritually. "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." (Jo.15:2)

There are a number of areas we notice that pruning is beneficial. One area is that the dead branches need to be removed. They will weaken a tree and also hinder fruit bearing as they may drain the good from it. God desires that which is in our lives that is not Christ like (dead) be removed as to not hinder the production of good quality fruit. also pruning is beneficial for shaping a tree so that it's branches may be strong and able to produce and hold more fruit. Praise God for the pruning when we want to go off in the wrong direction and are weakened by the allurements of this world. Sometimes fruit trees try to do more than they can really handle. We appreciate good quality fruit and to acquire that calls for the cutting off of some branches or thinning of the buds (depending on the kind of tree). God sometimes needs to prune us to direct our growth in the right direction that we may become stronger and more fruitful.

Pruning is also needful so that a tree does not become "ingrown". Various branches need to be trimmed back or removed so that the light can penetrate the whole tree. as the sun shines unto the whole tree, even into the center, so as we allow the light of the Son to penetrate within and illuminate our hearts we will be fruitful and not die. "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9). any area of our lives where darkness dwells will be unfruitful. a life centered on self is certainly "ingrown".

Chastening (correction) is also very beneficial for us as trees in God's garden. "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Heb 12:11). as a tree endures the storms of life it grows stronger and is rooted deeper and so can we when we allow God to work in our lives. He has not always promised an easy road but has promised to be with us and see us through. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth" (Heb 12:6). This verse speaks of his great love for us. God only wants what is best. as fruit trees need some correction and training of the branches to be more productive, so we also benefit from God's training in our lives. "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" (Heb 12:7).
a few questions we could ask ourselves:

1. Am I bearing fruit now? "That bringeth forth his fruit in his season (now)" (Ps 1:3).

2. Is my fruitfulness continuing? "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).

3. Am I increasing in fruitfulness (faithfulness)? "Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account (Phil 4:17). We need to be growing or we become stagnant.

4. Am I bearing fruit to the glory of God? "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples" (John 15:8). any fruit we bear is of the "ability which God giveth" (1 Pet 4:10,11).

5. Does my fruit meet God's standard? "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love" (John 15:10). If our fruit is the work of God it will bear definite marks of the Spirit of God.

- Millerstown, PA