Earlier this week, I heard an outstanding message on Psalm 1, with a focus on how those who delight in the law of the Lord are “like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit in each season” (Psalm 1.3a, NLT).
It’s true: when we are planted firmly like trees, and our roots deepen and expand, we bear fruit. But what is this like, and what brings it about? I’ve been thinking about that ever since. Let’s consider it.
Our roots deepen and expand when we spend time in God’s Word, reading Scripture not just to amass information but to be shaped and transformed through it by the Holy Spirit. Our roots deepen and expand when we serve the Lord with our gifts, talents and skills. Our roots deepen and expand when we live the Christian life fully and authentically for the glory of God alone.
And what happens? We bear fruit. What kind of fruit?
Well, when we’re being transformed by the Holy Spirit, it stands to reason that we are bearing spiritual fruit – the fruit of the Spirit. The apostle Paul, in the letter to the Galatians, says that “the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5.22, NLT).
If you want to discern what kind of tree you’re looking at, you observe the fruit it bears, right? Apple trees don’t bear pears. Peach trees don’t bear plums. Each bears what it’s designed by God to bear. So it is with the follower of Jesus: when we live an authentically Christian life, we bear the fruit of the Spirit – not because we want to appease God in some way, but because we are living authentic Christian lives.
A healthy apple tree can’t not bear apples. A healthy follower of Jesus can’t not bear the fruit of the Spirit. The question becomes this: am I bearing the fruit that God designed me to bear? Also, am I living authentically in Christ? Are my roots deepening and expanding? Am I delighting in the law of the Lord? Am I like a tree planted along a riverbank?
A lot of questions. But when we let God live his life through us by the Holy Spirit, we experience the joy of fruit-bearing and know that it really is the life we were intended to live.
We’re getting into the season where leaves fall off trees and fruit is borne no more. But as Christians, God invites us to bear fruit all year. Is there a particular fruit of the Spirit that you’re working on right now? May you know God’s blessing as you seek to bear fruit for him.