Matthew 21:19 – And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
My family has quite the backyard orchard. At over 30 trees, we are quickly approaching the size of a small farm. None of our trees are more infamous than the first tree we ever planted, a nectarine tree purchased about three years ago. It was a large tree when we bought it, and it has continued to grow throughout the years. But, it has never produced fruit. This 5-6-year-old tree, easily the largest one in the orchard, flowers every single year and passes the harvest season full of leaves and barren of fruit.
A fruitless tree in an orchard is a waste of resources. Many times we have wanted to declare this tree “good for nothing” and chop it down. If a fruit tree doesn’t produce fruit, then what good is it? Likewise, if a Christian doesn’t produce spiritual fruit what good is that person’s Christianity?
Many of us are like that nectarine tree. We seem to grow stronger in our faith. To all observers, we appear righteous and holy. But, come harvest time, we are found without fruit. Year after year we bear the leaves of outward piety, but we are barren of the spiritual fruit of true righteousness.
We haven’t cut that nectarine tree down yet. It’s still in the orchard bearing leaves, flowers, and hopefully this year, fruit. You too have this period of grace. Before the final harvest, you have the opportunity to bring forth fruit. It cannot be done in your own strength though. It is only through the Lord’s power we can bear the fruits of His Spirit.
Further Reading – Galatians 5:22,23 – 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
John 15:2 – Every branch in me that bears not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that bears fruit, he purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
*Note* The image at the top of this post is of that infamous nectarine tree.