Every year the fruit trees in the neighbour’s garden blossom with the signs of spring. It is always good to see this new life because there is the anticipation that there will be fruit come summer time—and it is open season for the neighbourhood. What we look for come the end of summer are the boughs of the trees heavy laden with pears, plums, and apples. Sadly, last year the boughs of the plum tree were empty—no fruit. The pear tree was pretty sparse also, and the worms enjoyed most of the apples. No fruit at harvest-time robbed us not only of the enjoyment of harvesting, but also of enjoying the harvest itself. No fruit meant no jams or fruit-sauce and no canning.
Paul carries this image into the spiritual realm and encourages the Philippians to live so that they will have fruit in the end, that they might enjoy a full harvest laden with the fruits of righteousness. We can have many fruitless “good works,” but what we want is to be “fruitful in every good work” (Colossians 1:10). The fruitfulness of our good works and the harvest of spiritual fruit in the end are conditioned on the love we exercise in the present. Do we live with this love that abounds in knowledge and insight in those things that are excellent or do we meander through a life filled with loveless (unrighteous and fruitless) good works? Do we seek to excel in good works by a true, deep, and insightful love or are we satisfied with the mediocrity of a shallow sentimental love of which there is no fruit? Only fruitful good works please the Lord: “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples”(John 15:8)
Reading: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”—Philippians 1:9-11