Your Tree and its Fruits By Dr T.E Shobiye [PR]
Text: Seeing a fig tree by the road, HE went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again” Immediately the tree whispered,” (Matt 21: 19) NIV.
Biblical, human beings are being described as a tree that consists of root, body and fruit, (Due 20:19). According to Jacobson (2015) human beings are like a tree in the field that operates in three levels which are the root (who we are), the trunk (who we think we are) and the fruit (who others think we are). As Christians, we have been appointed as trees to go and bear fruits by Jesus Christ, Our Saviour (John 15:16). Therefore, we are called to bear good fruits in order not be cut off like a Fig tree. God Almighty does not dwell in a tree that is not productive, (John 15:2 & Matt 7:19).
Types of fruits
There are two types of fruits which our tree can either produce. These are:
(1) Fruits of the Holy Spirit and
(2) Fruits of the flesh/ physical acts, (Gal 5:19-26).
The kinds of fruits Jesus Christ expects us to bear are the fruits of Holy Spirit which stated in Gal: 5:22. These are fruits of: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In addition to fruits of the Holy Spirit, we are also expected to carry fruit of the light (Eph 5:9), fruit of righteousness (Phil 1:11), fruit of lips that proclaim/confess the Name of Jesus Christ (Heb 13:15), fruit of impartial and sincere (James 3:17). On the other hand, if our trees are not producing fruits of Holy Spirit, it will be producing opposite which is fruits of flesh such as “sexual immorality, impurity, witchcraft, hatred, lies, envy, orgies…” as mentioned in Gal 5:19-20. In other words, If a tree is bearing the fruits of flesh such a tree is an empty tree without fruits and it can be cut off like fig tree at any time at the visitation of Most High God, (Luke 13:6-7).
Name of a Tree
However, having identified types of fruits, what is the name of your tree? The Bible says by their fruits, we shall know them (Matt 7:16). Jesus Christ says that “A tree is recognised by its fruits,” (Matt 13:33). In this regard, the kind of fruit a tree produces spell the name of a tree. For instance, a tree that produces mangoes is called mango tree. Likewise, the names or trademarks of our trees are known to the world through the fruits that come from our actions, emotion, attitudes, behaviour and character. Laurie (2010) states that our character and outlook show types of fruits in our trees. Our attitudes, behaviour, emotion and character (tree) speak about the fruits we are producing. For example, as a result of the fruits that the Pharisees produced were the reasons Jesus Christ called the tree of the Pharisees as arrogant, murderers, liars, robbers, self-centres, greed, covetousness, and evildoers, (Luke 11 :39-53 & Matt 23: 1-37). In view of this, our fruits also pronounce our tree names to the world through our behaviour. The fruits we are producing determine if we are disciples of Jesus, (Jone, 2003). Meanwhile, the fruits the disciples produced in Antioch were the major reasons their tree was called Christians, (Acts 11:20-21). Moreover, it was fruits of love and kindheartedness that Dorcas’ tree produced that revived her from the shadow of death, (Acts 9:36-43). Similarly, it was fruits of love and kindness produced by a tree of the centurion that saved his servant from death because elder of Jew told Jesus that this man deserved His visits because he loved their country, and he built a synagogue for them…, (Luke 7:1-10).
Nevertheless, people are not reading the Bible this day, but watch the fruits that come from our trees of attitudes, behaviour, character and action. For example, when a person leaves an organisation, his/her co-workers either happy or sad and this may be due to the fruit such person’s tree has produced while working with such organisation (Proverbs 11:10). Sometimes, we as Christians know the kinds of fruits our trees produce while some are not known to us but are known by others. People get to know the fruits our trees produce by the information we give out about our trees and through the effects of our behaviour, reaction, emotion, character towards others. When people tell us kinds of fruits our trees are producing, these are referred to feedback from the effects of our behaviour, action, emotion and reaction. Mulder (2017) observes that the best way of confronting and correcting someone on his/her behaviour is by telling the person such behaviour which is feedback. At times, some people strongly disagree or fail to acknowledge when they are being told about fruits their trees produce, especially, if their fruits are the fruits of the flesh, (Matt 12:33). This is a case of Jesus Christ and Pharisees when Jesus was telling the truth to the Pharisees about kinds of flesh fruits their tree are producing and by hearing these fruits, the Pharisees were furious and strongly disagreed, but these fruits of flesh reflected in their behaviour, character and attitudes, (Luke 11:38-53 & Matt 23: 1-37).
Identification of Fruits from the Tree
There are some fruits that our trees produce, which we keep to ourselves as secret from others, particularly if such fruits come from the fruits of flesh/physical acts. There are some fruits we are not noticed in our trees which are also unknown to others. There is one model called “Johari Window,” is a model which was developed by Joseph Luften and Harry Ingham in 1955. The name, Johari was the combination of Joseph (Jo) & Harry (Hary) names. According to Saxena (2015:134), Johari window was created for self-disclosure and feedback model of self-awareness. The model deals with giving and receiving information how we view ourselves and how others view our behaviour, attitudes, reaction, feeling, skills and emotion. Beganu & Nitan (2017:1) explain that Johari window is referred as a communication window which we provide and receive information both about ourselves and the others.
The window is divided into four regions which are:
(1) Open Self
(2) Blind Self
(3) Hiding Self
(4) Unknown Self
The below figure shows the Johari Window Model
In a similar manner, Johari Window will be applied to illustrate how fruit is identified/ recognised.
(1) Open Self: Akewukereke & Ibitoye (2008:2) describe this first region as the part of our lives that we know about and that is seen and acknowledge by others as well. This consists of where we live, family, personal appearance, capabilities and qualification. Likewise, some people really know the kinds of fruits that come from their trees while others are aware of such fruits as well due to their behaviour, emotion and physical appearance. For instance, some people are shot-tempers because any little thing, they get upset and this fruit is also known by others. For example, Martha knew that she gets upset on any little thing easily and Jesus Christ knew about when He visited her and Mary, (Luke 10:41). Nabal, the first husband of Abigail knew that his tree was full of fruits of wickedness and foolishness and his wife, Abigail knew about it. David and people who were working for Nabal knew about these fruits, (1Sam: 25: 1-36). Before Paul met Jesus Christ on his journey to Damascus, Paul knew that his tree was producing fruits of blasphemer, persecutor and ferocious, (Acts 8:1-9 & 1 Tim 1:13-14) also the disciples knew Paul with such fruits and it was hard for them to believe that he was a changed person not until Barnabas told them about Paul’s encountered with Jesus on his journey to Damascus, (Acts 9: 26-30).
(2) Blind Self. This contains things about ourselves which we do not know, but others know about us with profound clarity, (Mulder, 2017). Some people do not aware of their behaviour, qualities, skills and actions but these are known to others. Williams (2015) suggests that it is a good thing to be surrounded with people who are not afraid to give us their raw opinions about ourselves not yes-men/women who only tell us what we want to hear. In a similar fashion, there are some people who do not know that their trees produce certain fruits while others take note of such fruits. For example: Nathalie, one of the disciples of Jesus did not know that his fruits also produced fruit of honesty until Jesus told him that “here is a true Israelite in whom there is nothing false,” (John 1:47). Peter did not know that he had the fruit of disowning until Jesus told him (Luke 22:31-34) thereafter, Peter disowned Jesus, (Luke 22:54-62).
(3) Hidden Self. Akewukereke & Ibitoye (2008:3) indicate that this is the part of our lives that we know but is hidden from others. Williams (2015) argues that this part consists of our hiding secret that are leading to feelings of shame, guilt or remorse. Generally speaking, this area contains our secret thoughts, feelings, fears, pride, dislike, shame and things that we refuse to share. In a similar manner, there are some people who are hiding certain fruits from their trees especially, if they are all fruits of flesh/physical acts. Such people believe that if others know about such fruits, they may be rejected, attacked and hurt in the society. It is the help of the Holy Spirit that can reveal hiding and secret fruits. For example: it was the Holy Spirit that revealed to Peter the fruit of deception in Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). It was God Almighty that exposed the fruit of stealing in Achan to Joshua (Joshua 7:1-26). It was the Holy Spirit that revealed the fruit of adultery committed by David to Nathan the priest (2 Samuel 12:1-13). It was Holy Spirit who exposed fruits of lies, covetousness, fraudulent and corruption in Gehazi to Elisha (2 King 5:1-22).
(4) Unknown Self. This part of window is about our hidden talent, natural abilities/potential which is unknown to us and to others, (Williams, 2015). On one hand, this indicates that there are some fruits we have in our trees, but we do not aware of and neither other aware of such fruits either. It is the Holy Spirit that can reveal the fruits of Unknown self to us and others. For instance; Elisha did not know that he would become a prophet likewise Elijah did not know that God had prepared somebody that would replace him not until God Almighty instructed him to go and anoint Elisha (1 King 19:9-21). Also, Samuel did not know that David was the one the Sovereign God had chosen as the king and likewise David did not know until God Almighty told Samuel to anoint David, (1 Sam 16: 1-13). It was God Almighty that told Moses that He had filled Bezalel son of Uri with the Spirit of God, skill, ability and knowledge…, (Ex 31:1-5).
Conclusion and Recommendation
Based on the above discussion, the places we are visiting and the people will are mingling with determine if our trees will be producing fruit of Holy Spirit. If we are in the rightful place or in the gathering of good brethren, our fruits will produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit, like a man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked people but delights in the words of God…(Psalm 1:1-3). To be a good tree that bears good fruits, we must be in line with God Almighty. This is the reason Jesus Christ says “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself…” (John 15:4). Had it been that Judas was always with Jesus our Saviour like three inner circles Peter, John and James, he would not have been perished and missed heaven. The word of God says we should not forsake the assembly of brethren, (Heb 10:25). There is benefit in the gathering of brethren, it prevents falling away or backsliding as well encourages one another, it builds and holds fast each other because iron sharpens iron (Prov 27:17 & 1The5:1). As a matter of fact, Judas’ tree would have produced good fruits as well useful and effective in the kingdom of God if he was always with other disciples but Judas was always visiting Pharisees. Bad company corrupts good character, (1Con15:33).
Above all, for us not be cut off like Fig tree, we need to ask Holy Spirit to purge and flush the fruits of flesh/physical acts from our trees and forsake all our fruits of flesh (Isa 55:7, Prob 28:13, 1 John 1:9, & 1 Peter 2 :11). We must let the words of God be our favourite meal to guide our trees to produce good fruits, (Joshua 1:9) as well obey whatever we have read, “Blessed are those that hear and obey the words,” (Luke 11:28). Through the help of Holy Spirit will can emulate the attitudes of Jesus Christ to produce a good fruit from our tree. Mostly, fruits of flesh are produced from our trees as a result of what we have planted with our minds like lying, fraud, robbery, and backbiting. Jesus Christ says, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts: murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony and slander,” (Matt 15:1019). Adeboye (2019) discovers that unjust thinking is the main cause of many atrocities that are committed in the society while thinking justly saves people from involving in illicit acts. In short, we need to always allow positive thinking in our minds in order for our trees to produce good fruits. With positive thinking we can emulate the attitudes of Jesus Christ our Saviour. The Bible says “Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things, (Phil 4:8). May Sovereign God Almighty help our trees to always produce the fruits of Holy Spirit not the fruits of flesh In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Action quote: “Make a commitment to show kindness no matter how frustrating things get during the day and if you realise you have hurt someone, apologize to that person,” by Gary Chapman.
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The above article was written by Dr T.E Shobiye [PR]