Bearing Fruit by Kim Reisman
Oh the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with scoffers. But they delight in doing everything the Lord wants, day and night they think about his law. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail. Their leaves never wither, and in all they do, they prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3, NLT)
I believe that as Christians we can do things that indicate to the world that God is at the center of our lives and that we take the witness of Scripture seriously in the choices that we make and the commitments we undertake. These actions make up our moral life. For Christians, there should be little, if any, difference between our “moral”life and our everyday life. The moral values that ground the Christian faith should permeate every aspect of our lives. The Psalms liken this kind of life to trees planted along a riverbank, bearing fruit year after year. That’s a wonderful metaphor for what our lives look like when God is at the center.
I love to garden. I enjoy flowerbeds and containers filled with blooms. Unfortunately, my prowess with indoor plants lags greatly behind my outdoor capabilities. Thankfully I’ve improved substantially and can now actually keep a plant alive within my home.
I have a friend, Phyllis, who, unlike me, has a wonderful green thumb, particularly when it comes to house plants. At any given time you can enter her home and there will be violets, cactus, and other plants, beautifully healthy, many with scads of blossoms. I recall seeing a lovely Christmas cactus in full bloom in her living room. I was amazed because I had a cactus just like it, but without the blooms. I didn’t even realize it could bloom, because mine had never had a single blossom.
Ever since seeing the beauty of Phyllis’s cactus, I have been disappointed in my own. It’s not that my cactus is unattractive. It’s actually quite pretty – a lovely deep green and very healthy. But it has never truly achieved its purpose – it has never bloomed. And thus, every time I look at it, I feel a sense of disappointment.
We were meant to bear fruit in our spiritual lives – not just interior fruit as our faith deepens, but external fruit, fruit that shows itself in the way that we live. If we develop our faith in such away that we are healthy and our spiritual lives are like my cactus, “not unattractive” but have never born fruit or blossoms, there will always be an underlying sense of disappointment. We will not have achieved our entire purpose. James was pointing us toward this truth when he asked, “Dear brothers and sisters, what’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions?” (James 1:14, NLT)
We are at our best when we have God’s Word ever before us and live in ways that reflect that. When we “delight in doing everything the Lord wants,” we too become “like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail.”
As you pray and fast this month, reflect on the fruit you are bearing as you journey in faith. What actions make your faith visible to others? How might your faith life bear more fruit? What would you have to change to become more fruitful in your spiritual life? I pray that as you reflect, you will discover more and more ways to put your faith into action.