bearing good fruit

I am a lazy fruit bearer.

In the Bible, it talks about how Christians will be recognized by their fruit. That bad trees bear bad fruit and good trees bear good fruit. All of us, whether we are Christians or not, whether we realize it or not, are bearing fruit. We can’t not influence others and shape those around us. It’s how humans work; we need others. And as we’re in relationships with friends, family members, work colleagues, and neighbors, we’re showing them who we are. We’re showing them who we are by what we say and what we don’t say. We’re showing them what we believe by how we act and how we don’t act. We’re showing them what is important to us by our actions, our attitudes, and our words.

We can’t help but notice others, we’re just curious little creatures.

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And if we’re living in close relationship with any of these people, either by choice or by circumstance, we start to influence each other. It’s just what happens. It’s why I got a perm in elementary school and why I tight-rolled my jeans in middle school. I was influenced by all the cool kids around me.

When my younger sister moved to Ohio for college, she started picking up some mannerisms of her Kentucky roommate. She started talking a little different than we did in Indianapolis and when she came home for Christmas break, it was weird to hear how living with another human being for four months had changed her. She used words differently: she said some words with more of a hitch in the pronunciation than we did.

I don’t think my sister did this on purpose.

Although I remember being eighteen and trying on all different kinds of identities to figure out which one fit best, so maybe she was just trying on a new self for a while. The language change didn’t stick long term though, she eventually moved back to Indy and learned how to speak correctly. Thank the Lord.

Right now, you are producing fruit. Right now, I am producing fruit. For the longest time when I read that verse, I thought it meant children were the only fruit I could bear so it didn’t apply to me until I had kids. I could worry about what I was bearing (literally and figuratively) when I was ready for children. But I was wrong.

I’ve been bearing fruit a lot longer than I’ve been a mother. I’ve been influencing and shaping others for most of my life and so have you. I pray that I’ve been bearing good fruit, but truthfully, I know it hasn’t all been good.

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

I can look back and see that some of my fruit has not been good. Some of my branches have been cut down and thrown in the fire because nothing good was coming from them. Friendships have been stopped because they weren’t glorifying to God. Relationships that were leading down dangerous paths ended because God was pruning me.

He longs for us to bear good fruit, to live our lives so that others see him and want a relationship with him. I think about that a lot as I interact with my students at school, when I mother my children, and when I’m driving my minivan…mostly because those are the times I am the least patient and loving, those are the times when I am the least reflective of my Jesus.

Occasionally, I’ve been pruned in areas I thought were good and healthy. God has stifled plans or people or places that I thought were going to be used for his glory. He’s cut down and thrown in the fire things I would have liked to hold onto. Recovering from those prunings can be hard. Thinking you’re doing something right or good and having it squelched is rough to understand sometimes.

I want to bear fruit. I want those around me to want the Jesus that I’ve got because they can’t live without him. I want people to see something good in me that can’t just be because of me, that it has to be Jesus.

I want to do a better job of producing fruit.

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