Theme of the Week: Devoted
Bible Verse: “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.“ John 15:8, CSB
Scripture Reading: John 15:1-8
Have you ever picked fruit? I (Pam) grew up on a farm, and we had some apple trees on that property. Some of the trees produced fruit that was luscious, sweet, and bountiful, filling our bushel baskets up to the brim with tasty treats. Some of the other trees, however, gave a smaller harvest, or fruit that was malformed and misshapen. Some trees didn’t bear any apples at all!
Jesus talks about the kinds of fruit one can elect to produce (read Luke 6:4345). So, what is the difference between a tree that produces good fruit and one that produces bad? And how can you develop a relationship that produces good fruit?
The roots: A tree that produces good fruit is rooted in the person of God. God created the two of you, so he knows how to make your relationship work best. Begin by giving control over to Jesus. Let Christ sit in the driver’s seat of your life and love.
The trunk: A fruit-producing tree has a wide, strong base developed by long years of growing next to the streams of living water referred to in Psalm 1:3: “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.” All the work you do as a couple rests on and stems from this solid base.
The branches: A fruit-bearing love will also have the goal of pleasing the other over yourself. The best marriages have a “Let’s do what is best for you” attitude. As you both seek what is best for the other, the branches of love will grow plentifully and strong.
The leaves: Like the foliage of a fruit-bearing tree, love will shelter you both from the harshness of the world. Just as vegetation is a sanctuary to the fruit from the scorching sun and the freezing storms, so kindness is a shelter that will protect your love from the cruel realities of life. We suggest you try to do something kind, thoughtful, or romantic each day. Together you will produce a love that flourishes and produces the fruit of community, respect, success at work, children who grow to be leaders, financial security, and other more intangible blessings like hope, joy, and cherished memories.
Conversely, as you might guess, the tree with little or no fruit (or “evil fruit,” as the passage suggests) is one based on narcissism, selfishness, and self-absorption. Worse still, we have seen couples so caught up with attaining the trappings of wealth, power, and worldly success that when one of them had a crisis in their health or an emotional trauma, the other simply cast off the spouse who was a shackle to his or her dreams. They left their mate sitting wounded, bruised, and battered by the roadside.
Self-absorbed couples also produce self-centered children who have little or no time for their parents. Be prepared to handle old age on your own if you spent your family-raising years chasing the almighty dollar! Now, money isn’t the problem — money is just a tool. However, our attitude toward money and the accumulation of worldly goods can become a consuming pursuit, and Jesus wants that place a priority in your heart.
So, what kind of fruit do you want your love to produce? Each day we walk with Jesus, we increase the possibilities of getting the fruit-filled life we long for. God has bushel baskets full of blessings he longs to give the two of you. Are there any changes or course corrections you want to make in your life to gain them?
Prayer: Lord, make a relationship one that reflects your heart and your values. Help us produce ample good fruit in the lives of those around us. Amen.
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