You also died to the law … that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. Romans 7:4
Fig trees are often mentioned in the Bible. Quite frequently they are used as illustrations of people. For one thing, young fig trees have to be carefully cultivated if they are to develop properly and bear fruit. So it is with human beings. Careful, Christ-centered training of children is necessary if they are to mature into fruit-bearing Christians.
In a well-known parable Jesus speaks of a man who had planted a fig tree in his vineyard, expecting it to bear fruit. Our Lord was acquainted not only with orchards but also with vineyards, where grapes were grown. In John 15:5, again with emphasis on fruitfulness, He declares the source: “I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.”
In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount mention is made of a fig tree as illustrative of people. There our Lord referred to a consistency: Figs grow on fig trees, not on thistles. He declared that the fruit of a tree is consistent with its nature, saying: “Every good tree bears good fruit” (Matthew 7:17). Applying this principle to people, He said: Know the prophets, preachers, and religious teachers by their public teachings and actions, checking whether they are consistent with the written Word of God. Know also other people – preachers or not – by their fruits, for they are the index to character.
The Holy Spirit enables us to be fruit-bearing Christians. Through the Gospel He calls us to faith in Jesus Christ, causing us to rely entirely on His atoning sacrifice for salvation. He enables us to be like good trees yielding the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, righteousness, and whatever else is truly good.
PRAYER: O Holy Spirit, deepen my faith in Jesus Christ and make me a fruit-bearing Christian. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)