By Their Fruit

My first home is positioned on the corner of a quaint street in West Philadelphia. Its appeal was the adorable yard that wrapped around the home, a much-desired space for a young family. For years, a very persistent plant in the front yard baffled me. There were branches jutting from the ground with smooth hand-shaped leaves as its adornment.  I didn’t know what to do with it as it grew every which way. So, I’d trim it to its stump to make more room for more attractive gardening options. However, without fail, it would grow back. Eventually I gave up on trying to tame this stubborn shrub and stopped trimming it, letting it grow in all of its glory. 

John 15:8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (NIV) 

One spring, buds began to grow that were larger than its normal leaf buds. Sitting on my stoop, confused by what this odd plant’s purpose was, my thoughts were interrupted by an older neighbor walking by. She stopped and said, “Oh, I see you’re letting your fig tree grow again. I used to enjoy picking the fruits years ago.” Stunned and a bit confusedI realized that this baffling plant was actually a tree—a fig tree—and because its fruit’s growth was stunted by the conditions of its environment, it had become unrecognizable. You see, a fig tree requires special attention and should be wrapped with burlap to protect it in the winter. I had no idea and under my care, it was no longer flourishing and it no longer produced its bounty. 

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (NIV) 

The path of the ways of the world is wide. Going every which way, the conditions of the pathways to the wide road leads to death and destruction. There are no restrictions on the wide path, making its journey easy, attractive and heavily populated. Yet, those who follow it are lostlost in pride, ego and greed. They become unrecognizable to God. His love for them does not wane, but it is the choice of wide path that separates them from His Grace. 

The path that leads to life is narrow. There is no room for pride, ego and greed on this path. There are few who follow this path as it requires diligence, sacrifice and willful obedience. Though the narrow path is much harder to traverse, those who follow it are protected by God’s grace and flourish in the bounty of the fruit of His Spirit.  

God has given us the freedom to choose the wide and narrow path, and we must choose our path wisely. To enter the narrow gate, we have to actively pursue God’s Word and live by it obediently. Sometimes we lose our way and our will leads us astray; however, we must turn away from the ways of the world and look to Jesus“Turning away leads us to cultivate godliness while eradicating the habits that lead to sin.” (Pastor Bryon) Jesus compassionately guides us in the way of love, humility and generosity. His special attention is a protectant from the conditions of this world. Jesus’ love reminds us of our potential for growth and how the bounty of our fruits is used for his glory.  

By Danielle Boardley

Danielle, along with her husband Dominic and children, moved to NJ in April 2014 and began attending Kingsway shortly thereafter. Quickly accepting the invitation to go through Growth Track, they learned more about the church, their spiritual strengths, and landed on the Worship Arts team. Danielle values spending quality time with her family and finding ways to express herself creatively. Joining the Kingsway blog team was yet another exciting opportunity to serve through creative expression. Her love of writing began in her youth when she was introduced to the works of Maya Angelou. Inspired by her prose, Danielle published a book of poetry in 2007.