Becoming Forever Fruitful
By Ariane Arquisola, Brothers X Sisters |
One little-known fact about me is that I love fruit. Yes, I love eating it, but I especially love the ways the Lord teaches me lessons through metaphors and images having to do with fruit; orchards, gardens, trees, roots — anything having to do with horticulture, really. This fascination was initially inspired by listening to messages by the Helsers, especially Melissa Helser.
I remember listening to a podcast where she was feeling anxious at a conference. If I can recall it correctly, the process of getting to the venue was chaotic and as soon as she arrived, she was next on the schedule to speak. In all of the craziness of her emotions, Holy Spirit reminded her that she has unlimited access to an ever-growing orchard of Peace that they had grown together, and that at any moment, she could take and eat of that fruit. She agreed with that in her heart and in her spirit, and she ate it. A few moments after, some women were close by and they gave her a peculiar look. When she addressed them, they said to her, “Wow. There’s such a peace about you.”
With joy in His Heart, He said to me, “We’re gardening now.”
The Lord began to stir my heart that day. I decided that I want to not only be a person who bears the fruit of peace, but also has an abundance of the fruit of His Spirit in my orchards. Eagerly, I began to dive deep down into devotion with the Lord. I wanted to develop deep roots, and begin to tend to the garden of my heart so that I could see a plentiful yield. I beautifully entered a season of growth.
I often view my growth and the ebb and flow of my relationship with the Lord in seasons. The season described very much felt like Spring. There was a refreshing sense of newness and life that brought forth hope. But what do you do when the season shifts into Winter? Or you see the leaves begin to fall off the trees? Somehow, we’ve convinced ourselves that when the seasons change, so goes the fruit and the crops.
Here’s the beautiful reality: The Lord is not bound by these seasons.
In October of 2017, the Lord gave me a vision of a garden (surprise, surprise). In the vision, I saw the Lord pulling weeds and tending to it. I quickly realized that we were standing in the garden of my heart. I was a little girl in the vision, probably no older than 5. He turned to me and asked, “What would you like to grow today?” With bright eyes and a smile, little Ariane quickly responded, “EVERY FRUIT AND VEGGIE THAT I LOVE!” I began to call out all kinds of fruits and vegetables, and as I requested them, the Lord would laugh and allow them to spring up in my garden. With joy in His Heart, He said to me, “We’re gardening now.”
I understand now that although we go through different seasons circumstantially, the Lord can help you grow fruit no matter the season.
Ezekiel 47 and Revelation 22 refer to the river that flows through the Garden of Eden. The river symbolizes life from God and the blessings that flow from His Throne. Ezekiel 47:12 reads, “Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” As I continue to press into what it means to bear the fruit of the Spirit, I’ve come to discover that it’s actually more about the Spirit than it is the fruit. We must first understand that without the water of His river — His living water — nothing will grow. It’s easy to become consumed with working to populate our orchards, but in actuality, closeness and devotion to the Lord in itself produces fruit. We grow with a growth that comes from Christ, not from our own doing. Sometimes, this looks a lot more like resting and being still rather than “work.” We must crush the religious spirit that tells us we must be do-ers, and just be in the Presence of the Almighty.
The more and more I allow the Holy Spirit to be the water that sustains me, the more I watch my garden become a restored Eden. Externally, we live in a day where there are seasons for everything, and we often await to see fruit. But we look forward to a time where our Garden is fully restored and we bear fruit each month, without withering or failing, no matter the season.