Knowing People By Their Fruit

But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
— Jeremiah 17:7-9 NLT

Our time-space world is governed by four seasons. Each season has unique qualities within itself that it brings to the earth, the most easily recognized of which are dramatic changes in the physical environment around us. Many people would agree that winter is their least-liked season. Everything that was green and verdant earlier in the year now becomes brown and exposed. Some animals, like bears, go into hibernation. The often-bitter cold discourages many outdoor activities. On the other hand, the annual anticipation of summer is always a joy—until the heat becomes unbearable. The earth requires these seasons—winter, spring, summer, and fall—in order for all things to grow and thrive properly. Seasons come and go, each one changing gradually and silently into the next. All of us also go through seasons in our lives, and those seasons also bring changes. One thing, however, remains constant: God, who is always our loving Father and our sure foundation. He made everything in this universe including humanity. As much as we marvel at the wonders around us, we often forget that we are the most prized gem in all of creation.

We are the Father’s workmanship. He has poured into us not a limited portion of Himself, but His fullness. The more we walk with Him, the more we learn about who we are in Him. Because we come from the Father, we never have to prove ourselves to Him, but we do need to turn our hearts toward Him so that we can see ourselves for who we truly are: children of God. We must learn to establish our trust firmly in Him. No matter what adversities, afflictions, tests, or struggles we might go through, we will not be moved because we know our Father’s voice and believe His promises. His words never return to Him void; they are always fulfilled.

Trees are a singularly beautiful part of creation. The Bible contains many references to trees, employing them often as a metaphor to describe us. Trees possess depth and height, provide shade and shelter, and each has its own unique shape as it grows. More significantly, trees are characterized by strength and longevity. Trees are designed to produce fruit, but to do so, they must sink their roots deep into the soil. In the process of their lives, trees must endure the widest range of diverse and adverse weather conditions. From rain and snow to drought and aridity; from suffocating heat to bone chilling cold; most trees stand the test. Those that don’t didn’t go deep enough. The principle is clear: the deeper the roots, the stronger the tree, making it difficult to uproot. Trees whose roots are not deep enough, however, are quickly uprooted and scattered.

Drought is a deadly danger to trees as well as to people. The entire ecosystem suffers from the effects of drought. Trees will die from lack of moisture, and so will people if drought catches them unaware and unprepared. Many people suffer from spiritual drought, which is even worse than physical drought. Spiritual drought causes them to lose perspective and to focus on their lack. Anxiety leads to worry and worry to fear. People caught up in spiritual drought feel they have no choice but to fend for themselves anyway they can. But consider what trees do when faced with drought. They don’t complain or talk back, or become negative about their situation the way people often do. As their need for water increases, trees send their roots deeper and deeper into the ground until they find a water source. The deeper the roots, the stronger—and more fruitful—the tree. In fact, the best and most abundant fruit that trees produce often, and the first harvest following a season of drought.

While many see little value in a drought, it actually can be a fruitful time of immense spiritual growth. When we root and ground ourselves in the Father, He becomes our stability through the toughest and driest of times. No matter the heat we may be under, our leaves are not scorched but remain green, demonstrating that our source is not of a natural order, but of the Father. We continue to produce fruit even when surrounded by barrenness. Human rationale and logic cannot comprehend this. The fruit we bear is not ours alone but is given as a provision for others to partake of as well so that they too can know the goodness of the Father.