I hope you are not getting tired of the garden. There are so many practical, everyday lessons out there. This one relates to pruning, and, of course, to bearing fruit. Because the FRUIT is what it is all about!
When growing any kind of berries—raspberries, black berries, black raspberries—pruning is important, and “doing it right” has a lot to do with both the quantity and quality of the fruit.
So the experts say.
Since we happen to have several types of berry bushes to keep pruned, I have tried some on-line lessons, hoping to get payback in fruit.
One key point they talk about is the distance from the root. When you prune, you are determining the location of the fruit, and
…the nearer, the sweeter. The nearer the root, the sweeter the fruit!
There is always the temptation to keep too many side branches and get fruit too far from the ROOT.
Because every extra bud pushes the FRUIT that much farther from the ROOT. This means it will get less nutrients. The result: less fruit!
Because the ROOT nourishes the FRUIT.
We don’t always think about how dependent we are on THE ROOT!
The spiritual lesson is obvious. Jesus said it:
John 15:5 5“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
You a branch, me a branch, all drawing vital nourishment from the vine (Christ), who received His nourishment from the root (the Father).
And all bearing rich, luscious FRUIT, keeping near the ROOT.
Isn’t it a beautiful picture of growth, spiritual growth? No wonder Paul said we are “rooted”:
Colossians 2:6–7 6As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
Paul spoke of every believer as being “in Christ.” Connected to the root. Continuing in verse 7:
7rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
“Rooted and built up in Him… established in the faith”—this tells us where the nourishment comes from. The ROOT.
So the lesson: keep near the ROOT because the root nourishes the FRUIT.
And the master Gardener wants FRUIT. What did He say?
John 15:8 8By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
What does the root do for us?
1- The root builds us up and establishes us “in the faith”
2- The root establishes us “as you have been taught”—that vital knowledge we must learn.
Picture a long, lanky vine growing off on its own 10 or 15 feet, then expecting to make lots of fruit? No, it won’t happen because the ROOT makes the FRUIT.
Nearer the ROOT, sweeter FRUIT.
To get maximum fruit we must stay close, “IN CHRIST.”
Paul used this phrase “in Christ” many times. It was his anchor point.
Ephesians 2:10 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
We are created IN CHRIST for the purpose of “good works,” which God has commanded, that we should “walk in them.”
He said it again about being made NEW.
2 Corinthians 5:17 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
We are “in Christ” so that we become “a new creation” – it’s a different simile but the same lesson. Attached, “in Christ.”
Paul also said we are “rooted and grounded in love.” Agape love, Christ-like love. Remember Paul’s definition of this love in Christ. It is everything we want to be. It is especially good in the New English Bible:
1 Corinthians 13:4–7 (NEB) 4Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, 5nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offence. 6Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over other men’s sins, but delights in the truth. 7There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance.
What good spiritual soil for rooting and growing FRUIT! The fruit of heavenly love, the godly virtue of love.
Let’s read about it now from Eph. 3:
Ephesians 3:17-19 16that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may be able to … 19to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge…
What does it mean to have Christ “in you” or to be “in Christ”?
Paul used this phrase often, and many people try to think of Christ being in their heart, coming into their heart, being somehow “inside” them when they are saved.
No, it is Christ the truth, Christ the knowledge of God and the SOURCE of our vital nutrients, in the simile of bearing fruit.
Here is a key passage to remember:
Colossians 1:27 27To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Hear what Paul is saying: “Christ in you” IS the “mystery, the revealed knowledge of God, “the hope of glory.”
No idea of Christ being in our heart literally. Let us read it again:
Colossians 1:27 27To them God willed to make known … this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Christ “In you.” Christ the whole system of Divine knowledge He taught everywhere he went. The knowledge of the coming KINGDOM!
Luke 8:1 1… He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.
If we keep this knowledge close, keep it in our minds, stay close “in Christ,” then we can grow more and more of this fruit of the spirit. What is that fruit?
Galatians 5:22–23 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
So what is the lesson? Stay close to the ROOT, and you will get more and more of this FRUIT the Master is looking for.
Not a long, spindly branch trying to show off on its own, but a branch close to the ROOT and loaded with rich, luscious FRUIT!
Romans 6:21–22 21What fruit did you have then [in your old life] in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
The fruit of holiness, what Paul called “fruit unto everlasting life.”
That is what we want.
Stay NEAR the ROOT, and grow that luscious fruit of holiness, fruit unto “everlasting life.”
Don’t Miss the Now Benefits – The now benefits in the perspective of eternity. Why in the perspective of eternity? Because worldly benefits count little, if anything, in the perspective of eternity.
The greatest NOW benefit that comes to mind are God’s instructions carefully followed. Is there anything more important than this? The Scripture tells us why this is so important: Friends of the world are enemies of God. What does this mean? We are on our own without God’s concern and we have no prospect of future life, unless, of course, we repent before it is too late. We want eternal life.
So, let go and grasp the eternal! Take hold of life and live eternally!