No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. —John 15:4
I love fruits—apples especially. Not only are they healthful, they’re also convenient. Often times when I’m in a rush to get to work and haven’t had breakfast, I grab an apple to start my day. One morning, I bit into one that seemed crisp and crunchy on the outside; however, at its core it was mushy and tasteless. I thought to myself that the branch from which that apple came must have been poorly maintained. Certainly the apple would have been sweeter, juicier and crunchier if it had come from a branch that was properly watered, fertilized and pruned.
God showed me a picture of myself in that moment. I was going through a phase where I was bearing bad, mushy fruits such as jealousy, pride, and unforgiveness. My behavior was distasteful to Him and others. God’s word warns us in John 15: 4, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” I was that branch that was cut off and beginning to wither. Apart from God—if we don’t remain in Him and His word—we can do nothing or bear anything good. Galatians 5:22-23 assures us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If we remain in God, our true vine, it’s inevitable: we will bear pleasant, tasty, godly fruits.
An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but when that fruit is kindness or forbearance, it’s a sign that we’ve drawn closer to God, our source of grace and love. Our lives become more spiritually nutritious and fruitful.
Reflection: What branches in your life need to be handed over to God for pruning? Do you bear good fruits, or are your fruits mushy and tasteless?
Father, forgive me for the times I thought I could flourish without you. Water me, prune me and help me to grow in the areas where I lack wisdom and love. May my life be fruitful and may my fruits be sweet to your taste buds.
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