Paring down

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

You can see from the first two verses that there’s a qualifier (several, actually) on bearing fruit for God. Something that any Christian worth his or her salt has the desire to do. And is expected, even. The hard work of not walking “in the counsel of the ungodly” can take quite a while to work up and work out. If we have subconsciously taken in a word of counsel or admonition or advice from someone whose heart was not resonant with God’s, the Holy Spirit is faithful to reveal it. Of course, it may end in severing the relationship between you and them–that’s drastic, yes. But then again, Jesus was all about realignment.

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)

Referring again to the opening passage from (and of) Psalms, the psalmist has made the words of God–that which was delivered to Moses–“his delight”. Out of all the noise and static in the world (just step back once or twice and see it), God’s words are as pure and undiluted as they’ve ever and always been–because they’re Him. If that makes sense. Therefore, taking whatever passages from His Word and making them our own, is the order of the day(s). It takes time but it’s so freeing. Read in Colossians (2:3) about how “in [Jesus] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Or in Paul’s little letter to his friend Philemon (verse 6) about “the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” Two verses from the top of my mind, that have since read (and meditating upon) have spread their roots through my thinking. But the thing is, you have the whole of God’s word. It’s all available to you and you alone. God’s word is broad–but it also pierces the heart of anyone who desires Him. And anything beyond that (i.e. the thousands upon thousands of books written since–see John 21:25) must, must be based on the original words. Well, that and Jesus. As was the whole of the Bible. We have more than did the psalmist. Our yield should be higher. Which brings me to my next point.

But first, real quick: The Latin root par means “equal”. When we bring to the table that which God wants (i.e. us), He can give the rest–Him. The transaction is made upon believing and it’s that way for the rest of our life. God always desires to give you more of Him.

“Let Thy sentence come forth from Thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.” (Psalm 17:2)

Pairing up

“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (John 15:2)

When you hit your stride in God, when you find out what He made you to do (whatever it may be), your yield will only increase. It’s almost as if you acquire another cylinder on which to fire. Every part of you will come into alignment with His purposes. The name “Ephraim” means “double fruit”. The tribe of Ephraim is referred to in the Psalms twice (60:7, 108:8) as “the strength of mine head” by God. And the Hebrew root parah means “to bear fruit”. It takes what time it takes and God is so, so patient. But it doesn’t mean that He isn’t expectant. He wants to, how can I say this “show you off to the world”. But it can’t happen unless your roots are deep in Him. And it’s not entirely accurate unless all you do is want to see God glorified. Rest in Him. As He walks through the orchard (or the vineyard) in which He planted you, He’ll eventually come to you. This is what it means to “wait upon the Lord”. As you soak in His presence and love and Word, He’ll be well pleased with what He sees. Know also that He’s in and around you by His Spirit. And when Jesus says “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me.” (John 12:32)–even though it’s referring to His forthcoming crucifixion–it’s understood that we must lift Him up to the world. That’s what our fruit does. Towards the end of his letter to the Philippians, after acknowledging their support for his ministry, Paul says this: “I desire fruit that may abound to your account.”  (4:10-17)

In making the exchange with God (he asks that we literally give ten percent of our yield to Him–work it out with Him), it says in Malachi that “neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:11) In other words, God will see to it that you’re where you need to be for what He’s called you to and for. Again, all the more reason to wait in and upon Him for His harvest.

In closing, rather than be a symbol of failure and incompetence, I think the pear is the ultimate symbol of oneness. I’ll explain. To “have a pair” means to “have guts”, all crassness aside. But to “halve a pear” means to cut it in two. And to “have a pear” means to do both. All wrapped up in one (Really, if you want to get picky, half a pear is the best symbol of oneness. Think about it.). And the exclamation point in the title? Because it’s loud, yes. But also because it’s the factorial in math. Where it’s multiplied by everything that came before.



Garden Varieties


“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:8)

The term “infructescence” comes to us from Botany and it refers to a state in which a fruit-bearing tree or plant, is able to bear fruit. It’s the stage following “inflorescence” (the flowering), which in turn follows the “frondescence” (just leaves…). It means that the plant is ready.

“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:36)

God has called us to bear fruit for Him. As Jesus has introduced that analogy for us, we’d do well to consider just what it means for our life. In the above verse, Jesus is talking to His disciples who were flabbergasted that He’d even deign speak to a woman. But He knew. He talked to her, validated her and dealt with her sin then sent her on her way, full to overflowing. She went back and won over the entire town from where she’d come. She came to the well to fill her waterpot and left with a full heart. One touch from Him will fill you up and in turn create a harvest.


“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

Jesus must be referring to the prophecy in Isaiah 11. The first verse speaks of a “Branch growing out of [Jesse’s] (David’s father) roots.” It really doesn’t matter what variety of fruit you are called to bear, everything we do when we abide in Jesus out of love and worship is fruit that glorifies God. But it’s the abiding that causes it to happen. He’ll see to it.


So what is the “fruit” to which He’s referring? Consider this:

“And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James 3:18)

For instance, when we endeavor to live “peacably with all men” (Romans 12:18), God’s fruit can grow and be harvested. This is one of the ways that God “advertises” in this world. Your peace—that which you work hard for through the trial and toil of your life to procure—will be felt and enjoyed by those around you. And when they ask (they probably already know) where it comes from, declare.

Herein is the Father glorified. Because His peace is altogether different than the “garden-variety” offered by the world and its denizens.

It’s Summer. The skies are blue and the weather’s warm and clear. The Greek word for ‘harvest’, by the way, is ‘therismos’. We get the prefix ‘thermo-‘ from the same, referring to ‘warm’. In other words, it’s high time that the body of Christ bore fruit for Him. I’m not saying it isn’t happening the world over, but look at the confidence expressed by the Lord: “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields (!)…” When’s the last time you heard of one person leading their entire town to the Lord? Come to think of it, John chapter four. It’d be so cool to see this happen today!

There’s one fruit I don’t get though. It’s called breadfruit and it’s from a tree in the mulberry family. Apparently it tastes like bread, also potatoes. Very starchy. Whatever. To each their own. As long as your bearing fruit, no matter the variety.