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Jesus talks often about fruit.  Fruit from trees, fruit from vines -- one might think he’d been trained in pomology, not carpentry.

Jesus tells us that the fruit we see tells us something about the tree itself.  Good trees make “good” fruit, we’re told, while bad trees make, well you guessed it, “bad” fruit.  So much of our Christian life is spent trying to make good fruit, isn’t it?  But is that what Christian discipleship is about?  Is that what Jesus is saying?  

In nurturing a fruit-filled life we face an often unnoticed threat, much like the tiny aphid that strangles life from the tree, one tiny bite at a time.  It’s the temptation to think if I just try harder, my fruit will grow.  It’s a subtle threat, mainly because it sounds so spiritual, it sounds so true.  After all, we know that reading the Bible more, or praying more, or giving more, or resting in God more, or doing any of the spiritual disciplines more, would, in actual fact, benefit our journey with Jesus.

But here’s the thing: living into a God-transformed life isn’t about trying harder.  Can you imagine a tree straining and pushing with all its strength to pop out a ripe, juicy piece of fruit?  (I can, but it’s a rather amusing and disturbing picture--the tree has a face).  No, the Christian life isn’t about trying harder, as though experiencing the fullness of God relies on your own willpower.  To think in such a way would dull the gracious edge of Jesus’ Gospel.  

No, the Christian life isn’t about trying harder.  But it is about trusting harder.  Trusting that Jesus is who he says he is, and by extension trusting that we are who he says we are: new creations, forgiven, accepted, empowered by his very breath to live the God-life we were made for.  What might it look like for you live radically trusting Jesus today?      

God-trees, good trees, produce good fruit because they’ve got trustworthy roots.  When we’re rooted in Jesus, his sacrifice, his Gospel, when we trust in him and his ways, fruit grows.  Not by force, not by will, but simply because Jesus is the only author of life.  

As you cultivate life with Jesus this week rather than try harder, why not trust harder, and see what Jesus grows.