“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
There used to be a lemon tree in our back yard. At least, I think it was intended to be a lemon tree. Every year the tree would bloom and fill the air with a lovely fragrance. The blossoms made for a beautiful sight and the aroma was delightful. As the season changed, the blossoms turned into fruit. They looked like round lemons. It was as if they were a cross between an orange and a lemon. On the outside, they looked normal except for their shape. Regardless, they looked edible until you tried one. They were the most sour, most unappealing piece of fruit you can imagine. Even as lemons, they were much too sour. I tried to use them for lemonade or in marinades, but nothing worked. There were so many of them, and as they would ripen, they would just fall to the ground and rot. The tree that once looked and smelled wonderful had become a place for rats and maggots. And so, we decided to cut the tree down. It was simply in the way, not producing anything. We needed the space for a shed and so we decided to eliminate the lemon tree.
I was thinking about that tree when I read this scripture. You see, that tree started out as something fruitful. It bore fruit that was a blessing to its owner. At some point, it stopped producing good fruit and only grew sour fruit. What was interesting about that tree is that someone tried to save it. Whoever planted that tree in the back yard realized that it had gone sour and tried to do something to restore its ability to bear edible fruit. The original owner grafted a branch into that tree in hopes of saving it. He took a branch from a tree that bore good fruit and attached it to this lemon tree. He was hoping that the good branch would blend in with the tree becoming part of it. I don’t know if the original owner ever received any good fruit from that tree again. We never did. My guess is that the good branch was never able to become a vital part of that tree changing its fruit.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the life God gives us. It is only one life with a few short years. But we are to use this life to make a difference for His kingdom. Every day we are supposed to present ourselves to Him and ask for instruction. Every minute is only offered to us once. After it has expired, it’s gone forever. The question is, are we going to use those minutes that turn into days for; good or evil? Will our lives be filled with good fruit or are we going to turn the beauty of the Spirit away and allow our lives to become something ugly? Just like that tree, if we are truly filled with the Spirit of the Living God, we will be sweet. We will do good works. We will produce fruit. But I think that sometimes, we don’t let the Spirit reign in us. We keep Him to the side and we run our own lives. After all, we are intelligent. We know what to do.
God wants so much to be the reason for our actions. He wants to fill us with His Spirit and move in our lives. I am learning that if I want to make a difference for the Kingdom of God, I must let the Spirit be in control. I must follow Him daily. I must let Him lead. Every day that is lived in my own strength is a wasted day. Every time I produce sour lemons because I refuse to give it all to Him, I invite the enemy to come in and destroy His plan. The Lord has more for us than sour lemons. We have to believe that the God who gave us breath, desires for us to have abundant life in Him. He loves us more than we will ever be able to comprehend. He has a plan and a purpose for us. He wants us to bear good fruit. But this can only happen if we remain in Him. Invite the Spirit to fill you today and see what great things will be accomplished for the Kingdom!