“He comes to His garden to enjoy its fruit.”

— Chuck Smith

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The Christian is saved by believing and trusting in God. This produces fruit in their life. Yet so often I get confused and think producing fruit is what saves me or gives me a better standing before God and others.

But think of a tree: this tree produces fruit faithfully every year. Its fruit does nothing for the tree. If the tree depended on its fruit it would die. The fruit is only good for the enjoyment of others and for producing more trees. So what then saves the tree? The water and nutrients in the soil! The tree did nothing to put them there, nor can it maintain them there. It only connects itself to them and trusts that they will give it all it needs and by them it is able to produce fruit.

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Before coming to the Discipleship Program, I struggled often with wanting my works to be recognized by others and by God. I wanted to be noticed and known. I still do. I see pride creeping up in my heart probably every day. But the months I’ve spent away from home in this community environment have taught me a few things:

God showed me the ugliness of my sin; that there was nothing good in my heart, and that though I longed to change, I could not. He also taught me that He still loved me, no matter how sinful I am and that He wanted to change me if I would let Him. I was humbled over and over again in watching the selflessness of others, in the way they loved God and served me as well. I knew I wasn’t like them, but I wanted to be and as I strive to be more others-focused, I find a greater joy.
St. Paul said this to the Philippians:

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”

— Philippians 3:7-9

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I know I’m not there yet. I haven’t lost all things for Christ-there are many things I hang onto, thinking and hoping they will do me some good. But as C.S. Lewis says, “Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.”

I pray that I can give away all things and be able to say like St. Paul, “I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ.”

I want to be “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither” and in this way may the fruit that my relationship with Christ produces bring glory and enjoyment to God.


Written by a Discipleship Program Student



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Growing up I spent a lot of time reading about wars our country fought in history books and stories of soldiers who gave their all for their country. The sacrifice that they showed for their country was a great influence on me, but I am afraid the concept of fighting for something no matter what it costs others also influenced me too greatly. I saw the glory of being a hero, while ignoring how much it has the potential of hurting others.

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Throughout Scripture we have many instances of the Christian life illustrated in a military manner. Such as: weapons of our warfare II Corinthians 10:4; Armour of God Ephesians 6:11-18; fighting the good fight of faith I Timothy 6:12, there are many other examples as well. However while I emphasized in my mind this side of Christianity I ignored other Scriptures such as “Matthew 9:13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”, or Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”.

As a result of ignoring these verses as well as others, I have run roughshod over many people, far too many. The result was that I hurt many people in my life that the Lord had placed there for me to minister to. Because of this militaristic mindset, I began fighting for what I saw as the truth no matter who it hurt. The result of this was that I began alienating myself from many of my fellow believers. In a conversation with someone about three years ago, he pointed out to me that I was not showing love in a particular situation, but rather I was being harsh on several individuals. He was right, but I refused to receive what he was saying. In fact I took it as a badge of honour that someone was criticizing me for doing what was “right”.

Recently God has been opening my eyes and showing me what it looks like to love. For a long time, God has been teaching me how he loves me, but now he is instructing me in how to love others. One of the major ways is by serving others as Galatians 5:13 instructs us. Another is showing compassion on those who have not come to the same maturity as I believe I have in a certain area. I have also come to realise that I cannot have my own personal interpretation of Scripture. Many times I take how I understand Scripture as the standard and I get frustrated and judgemental if others do not see it the same way. The Christian life does indeed have military parallels of fighting to the end. However, in pursuing this end we must remember to have compassion, mercy and love for others.

—Disciple in GFA Discipleship Program



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