Then there was the plum tree...
While I did like plums, I did not like the plum tree very much. First of all, since there was only one plum tree, it was hit and miss as to whether we would get any plums that year. Unlike the apple trees which regularly produced fruit each year, the plum tree was unpredictable. It might bear fruit but then again, it might not.
Then there was another thing about that plum tree. The smooth bark of the apple trees were friendly to the bare feet of a little girl. The low thick limbs invited you to climb up and sit for awhile in the cool shade of it's branches and munch apples. The plum tree on the other hand had very rough bark which hurt your hands and feet. My friends and I preferred the more friendly and giving apple trees.
Some Christians are like the plum tree. We may produce fruit and when we do, it may even be good but it is sporadic as opposed to being consistent. Instead of being gentle and inviting to the "tender-footed babes in Christ" as well as others, we are rough and harsh.
Others are like the apple tree. Not only do they consistently provide good fruit but they are a source of comfort, refreshment, enjoyment and shelter for others.
In all honesty, there are times in my life when I am more like a plum tree than an apple tree...
In the second epistle of Peter it says:
Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.- 2 Peter 1:5b-11 (NLT)
We have been gloriously saved by grace. We believe and have faith in Jesus Christ. However, this is not the end. It is only the beginning. We need to supplement our faith with moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brother affection and love. This is how we continue to grow as Christians. This is how we draw others to want to come to know Him. This is how we are to live!
Do these things save us? No but tell me, why would anyone who has been transformed by the love of God not want to do these things? We say that we are a child of God but the way we live our lives proves it.