Monday, 30 May 2011

Why Is Marriage Like a Fruit Tree?

John 15:2 says, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples.” A disciple is defined as a person or people who believe in and help disseminate particular teachings.

If we accept that marriage is an institution created by God for His glory, then it stands to reason that the quality of our marriage either exalts Him or makes Christianity seem hypocritical. A marriage that honors God bears much fruit. In such a marriage the husband and wife are other centered, they put the desires of one another ahead of their own. They are committed to one another and they keep short accounts, i.e. they do not let the sun go down on their anger and they are quick to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. They give one another the benefit of the doubt. They spend several hours a week talking at the gut level, about life, about dreams, about concerns and about spiritual matters. There is much laughter and much affection. They look at one another as though they are in the dating phase of their relationship. When you are in the presence of such a couple you know they have something special. It is in this way that such a couple bears fruit and disseminates the teachings of Christ.

John 13:34-5 says, “A new command I give you. Love one another as I have loved you. So you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”

Based on most statistics regarding marriage such a couple as described above would be an anomaly. However I think it is safe to assume that God intended marriage to be a reflection of Christ and His bride, i.e. the church. (Eph. 5:23-32)

So what are the first things we try when a fruit tree is not bearing the quantity or quality of fruit that we would find desirable? We would feed it and/or prune it. So it is with a marriage when it is not bearing the fruit that God intended. We feed our marriage by praying together, studying God’s Word together, intentionally planning activities that remind us of our honeymoon years, going to marriage seminars and reading Christian books on marriage.

Pruning is more painful than and not as simple as feeding. First we need to accept as fact that God can and will use our spouse, our friends, and people and circumstances we might not like to provide us with insights as to how we can become more like Christ. So rather than getting defensive we need to listen carefully to the feedback we receive from others and observe our reaction to the situations which cause us to respond negatively. Pruning may require that we seek a Biblical counselor or some trusted friends who can offer Godly advice and insight. God’s children produce more fruit just like trees that have been pruned.

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