“…bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,” Col 1:10
There are different fruit trees that bear fruit in different seasons according to how they are created, and they are expected to bear fruit within a short period of time during the year. Yet before they do that, all conditions must be met for them to bear much fruit. If the weather conditions aren’t suitable or a drought occurs, trees will not produce. It’s not as automatic for fruit trees to bear fruit as we think. It’s puzzling why the Lord Jesus even cursed the fig tree after he failed to find fruit on it. Was he just frustrated to see the tree failing to perform its duty, even though it might not have been the season for it to bear fruit, or did he merely mean to teach us an important lesson that, unlike fruit trees, our bearing fruit should never be seasonal at all?
We only have ourselves to blame if we fail to bear spiritual fruit “in every good work” all four seasons of the year. Unless we do so, we will be cursed by the Lord Jesus like the fig tree of old and become withered.
If all natural conditions and human factors are fulfilled, a fruit tree will naturally bear fruit in season, and it does so not out of its volition. Fruit trees don’t have free will and they bear fruit instinctively. Well, if they have instinct at all. They simply can’t help it, can they?
How often during the short span of a day do we consciously resist a nudge from the Holy Spirit, moving us to do certain good work or to bear some spiritual fruit? I hate to start counting, for there are just too many. Instead of driving a few blocks to a nursing home to visit a despondent invalid, perhaps to bring him some comfort and hope, I decided to take a longer nap and to bathe myself in the warm spring afternoon sun. I had an option to bear good fruit, and chose not to do so, for doing something takes more effort than doing nothing.
Some conditions must be met for us to bear the fruit of good work, and unless we spend time and effort cultivating those conditions, not bearing fruit will turn into a bad habit, and non-productivity will gradually become our second nature.
What are the conditions, then? I suppose we are quite familiar with the parable of the vine and the branches, which is the single most important condition to be met for us to bear much fruit. We must spend time fostering our connection with the Lord so that we will have an inner urge to bear fruit. The next condition is equally vital, which is to take immediate action to do what we are called to do, not from personal affection but from undeniable obligation. One must be duty-bound to bear fruit consistently, in season or out of season.