Fruit of the Vine

Fruit of the Vine

Within a few days after Christmas, perhaps after the new year, when the Christmas cards quit coming, we have a new kind of mail. No, I’m not talking about all the bills that were generated by over-zealous buying. I’m talking about the gardening catalogs.

I usually study the colorful photos of flowers, trees, vegetables and fruit, wishing I had space in my yard to grow them and energy to do the work required. I imagine biting into juicy peaches, crunchy apples or crisp carrots, and I remember my early childhood experience of gardening.

Mom gave me a special little plot at the end of our porch when I showed interest in the gardening that she did. She handed me her left-over carrot seeds and taught me how to plant them. I was so excited. I watered them daily and watched for the first sprouts to crack open the dirt. Mom told me that the carrot leaves would be feathery, and showed me how to get rid of the weeds that could interfere with their growth.

Like most children, I was impatient. I wanted to see my carrots now. One day, when Mom wasn’t looking, I pulled up a carrot to see if it was big enough to eat. It wasn’t. It was hardly more than a thread. I put it back in the ground, hoping it would get bigger. I didn’t. It just grew limp and shriveled up.

I pulled up some other carrots as the weeks went by, and some were beginning to grow bigger, but every time I put them back in the ground, they shriveled up and died. One day Mom caught me inspecting my crop. “You’re not going to get any carrots if you keep pulling them up. Every time you pull one up you tear out the root and it can’t get any food. It dies. You must wait until you see the top of one of the carrot roots begin to stick out of the ground. Call me, and I will tell you if it’s ready to eat.” She smiled and went back to her own work.

In John 15, Jesus tells us that He is the vine, and we are the branches. Verse three tells us that we are clean through His Word. “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.” (v. 4) Just as my carrots had to stay in the ground, we need to be grounded in God’s Word.

When a tree grows, we don’t see sap rising, but life-giving nutrition is rising and spreading behind the bark and up to the branches, where the fruit is growing. Not all Christian growth can be seen by others, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. God teaches us quietly, in our inner-most being. True growth is not fast or flashy. It is a moment-by-moment, day-by-day nourishment that comes from studying the Bible and putting what we learn into practice in our lives.

The result? The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. See Galatians 5:22, 23.

Sometimes I wish I could do more for the Lord. I want to win others to Christ, and I want to help them to grow. Not every Christian can do those things, but we all can grow as Christians in God’s fruit garden.

Bettilu Davies About Bettilu Davies

Bettilu Davies is a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She has authored six published books, first writing fiction for children and teens and recently branching into adult Christian fiction. She has taught piano since 1968 and enjoys reading, crocheting, knitting, paper art, and painting in oils, acrylics and water color.

Comments

  1. What a wonderful example of the slow transformation that takes place in our hearts as we walk with Christ, Bettilu. I laughed at your story of pulling carrots out! This is exactly what I often want to do in my walk Christ. I’m not good at waiting, but the quiet act of abiding leads to lasting fruit!

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  2. “Not all Christian growth can be seen by others, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening” Love this! Something to hold on to and remember.

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