With our unseasonably warm weather in March and then four to eight inches of snow on April 23rd, the fruit farmers are not going to have a bumper crop this year. As I look across my yard to the neighbor’s apple trees I see very little fruit!
Can the same scenario play over in our lives? Have you had a season of fruitlessness in your Christian walk, or are you in one right now? To answer the latter question, ask yourself this question: has there been a previous time in my life when I was walking closer to the Lord and my life was more fruitful? If so, it might be a good time to look at the facts surrounding the situation.
Fact for 2012 fruit trees:
- The warm weather came too soon forcing the blossoms to bloom early.
- The cold weather came after the buds were forming and killed them
- No fruit
Fact for the Christian “fruit tree”:
- There can be wonderful seasons of hot preaching and warm hearts that produce the early signs of possible fruit.
- Satan has a real knack of freezing out the buds when our hearts turn cold
- The same result: no fruit
However, there are some major differences between the tree and the Christian. For the farmer, he has no control over the weather; for the Christian, a cold heart can be stopped by an act of the will. Satan whispers in our ears that the preaching doesn’t really apply to our lives or that the preacher is meddling :), and we turn our backs to God’s gentle prodding. What do you think happens when the sheep are gently prodded but choose to stay on the wrong path? The shepherd prods harder – the same is true of our Great Shepherd. Sometimes Satan’s whispers cause the fierce arctic winds of bitterness to blow in and freeze our hearts. I’ve heard it said that “idle hands are the devil’s playground.” The same is true of a bitter spirit. No wonder Heb 12:15 says “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” There is nothing more deadly to the possible fruit bearing Christian than a bitter spirit. Sad to say, it often becomes our blind spot.
Another major difference is timing: the farmer must wait a full twelve months for another harvest; the Christian can stop the season of bitter cold whenever he or she chooses. (I must add that there are times when the fight takes longer. It may be because of our history of “coldness” and God needs to keep us in the trial longer to teach us. However, there will be “sweet release” in God’s time if we stay on His path. See 2 Sam 24.)
The only solution for the fruit farmer is to plead with God over his crops. As a Christian, we have two weapons in our defense against the deadly freeze: prayer and surrender.
- We must stay close to the heart of God in prayer. “And He walks with me and He talks with me…” and I talk to Him. Stay in touch with the Good Shepherd. Talk to Him often and allow Him to speak to you through His Word. No one likes a one-way conversation, including our Heavenly Father!
- Yield to His way. This is the most difficult part of the Christian walk, but do know that a genuine walk with the Lord IS a walk of constant yielding. When is it hardest to yield – ALWAYS! We must yield because there is a difference of opinion between ourselves and God: His path is not the path we want to take. Unfortunately, we like our sins. Notice I said WE!! I see it all too clearly among my own branches! Yielding requires us to be dead to self. That’s tough, but if we could only see the blessed fruit hanging abundantly upon our branches because we HAVE yielded, we would never hesitate. The other unfortunate factor is that we do walk by faith – the yielding of our heart’s will must come before the yield of abundant fruit! Don’t take my word for it – look in the Book. Just take a look at Psalm 119 and see all the blessings that are promised to the one who yields and follows.