Growing a Tree of Faith – The Leaves
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.” – John 15:1-5
As the trunk of a tree grows it produces branches and leaves. This is the evidence of life within a tree. The more it continues to produce, the healthier and stronger it is.
Do you remember learning about photosynthesis in school? Leaves take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen in return. The sun and water bring nourishment to the leaves. As the leaves breathe in the carbon dioxide from organisms, animals, and humans around them, a chemical reaction occurs. Through the light and water process, the leaves will then emit oxygen back into the atmosphere. God’s creation is truly amazing.
Let’s think about this in a spiritual sense now. As Christians, we have been set free from sin. We do still sin and make mistakes, but the practice of sin should be removed from us. As we grow in Christ, we desire to live a life pleasing to Him instead of how the world shows us we should live. If we liken ourselves to leaves, we are exposed to the carbon dioxide of the world. Because we have the Son (sun) ‘shining on us’ and the Living Water (water) nourishing us, we are able to take the exposure of the world, process that, and in turn bring life back into the world. We are to be the light to the world. We have the gift of oxygen (gospel of Jesus Christ) that the world needs.
When we think of growing a tree of faith, the seed, roots, and trunk are all the evidential foundation of our personal growth in God. However, when we get to the leaves and fruits of the tree, this is where our lives in Jesus give back to others. The more we grow in Him, the more fruit we should produce.
“Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.” – John 15:4-5
If a leaf falls off a tree it will die. It is no longer getting the proper nourishment it needs from the tree. It can’t be on its own. However, if it remains on the tree, it continues to produce life.
We cannot do anything on our own. We need the Lord to nourish us in order to produce fruit to those around us. The Lord desires us to grow richly in Him. But it isn’t only for our own good. It’s for the good of others as well. The fruit is the work that Jesus does through us for others. The greatest law/command the Lord gave is this:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” – Luke 10:27
Our giving back shouldn’t be to ourselves. It should be to God and others. This is the exciting part of our lives.
As I was researching and reminding myself of the process of photosynthesis, I came across a video on www.livescience.com. It was explaining that as leaves take in large amounts of sunlight, they actually produce a fluorescent light in return. Though our human eyes can’t see it, certain satellites have picked up this light around the world. Nasa picked this up and shared this finding. Check it out by clicking this link and scrolling down the page until you reach the video https://www.livescience.com/51720-photosynthesis.html (Note: I consider Nasa a credible source of information. However, I have not explored livescience.com in detail. I am not an affiliate and may not agree with all their information.)
I have also heard that leaves produce sounds. It makes me think of Isaiah 55:12, “…the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Leaves produce oxygen, light, and sound. We are to be Jesus’ light to the world. We are to share the ‘oxygen’/gospel we have received to the world. We are called to sing praises of worship to our Lord. We can all do this by tapping into the True Vine.
“[I] can do nothing without [Him].” (John 15:5). But with the Lord, “I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).
In light of everything I’ve shared through this series, I have seen the hand of the Lord on my life. He’s spread my roots. He’s developing my trunk of faith. Now the branches and leaves are starting to produce. However, there are many, many more to grow. The retreat hasn’t been built yet. But the things that are going to be run from it are being developed. The Lord continues to give His details and plans to me. My prayer is that my life continues to bring oxygen, light, and praise into the world.
How about you? Can you see what stage your tree of faith is at? Is the Lord working on the roots of your character? Is He developing the ‘rings’ in your trunk through your story? Are you producing light, oxygen, and praise to God and to the people in your community?