Fruit Trees and You
“You’re crazy! You’re in a cult!” “You’re a bible thumper, you need to back off. My views are not your views.” “Obviously YOU have it right and centuries of scholars have it wrong. Get over yourself.”
Have you ever heard those phrases, or others like them? Of course you have. Anyone who has ever been “on fire for God” or excited about something new they’re learning, tend to hear such phrases at least once. Over-zealousness is an easy pit to fall into and it turns people off, it can even damage personal relationships and close someone off to what you have to share with them. Let’s let Scripture tell us how we can avoid those situations, or at least lessen them.
Leviticus 19:23-25 (ESV):
23 “When you come into the land and plant any kind of tree for food, then you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it must not be eaten.24 And in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to YHWH. 25 But in the fifth year you may eat of its fruit, to increase its yield for you: I am YHWH your God.
So you may ask, “What does this have to do with a zeal for God or the Torah?” When something is new, it is unestablished, still maturing, and it may not be the best time to eat, or share it. When many of us first come to the understanding that the Torah applies to His people today, we are often excited and maybe a bit scared. We are excited and want to tell everyone about this great revelation we feel we have received, but we may also be a bit afraid of the rejection of our friends and family. Our fear may also come because we lack a depth of understanding if confronted and/or questioned about this new understanding.
What if we waited and studied, drew extra close to our Creator, and established a firm foundation and understanding of the Word, His precepts, and how it applies? How firmly rooted would we then be and better equipped to answer the questions and/or accusations that are all but guaranteed to come our way? Think about the last 3-5 years, how much have you changed? Think back during the same time period and your walk with the Creator, especially if you have been striving to be Torah pursuant; how has your approach changed with those who do not yet have your understanding? Do you feel the same way about that group as you did when you first came to Torah? Chance are you are a different person now, would use a different approach, and do not feel the same way anymore because you have matured.
Once we are firmly rooted in the Word, the truth the Creator is giving us, we are better able to speak in love with our brethren who may not yet have the same understanding. When we are new and excited, it’s common for us to be blunt and attempt to force our new understanding upon someone else. While our motivation may be one of love, our actions are full of youthful exuberance, passion, and lacking in wisdom.
So easily we can let our fleshly nature effect our conversations on even a “godly” discussion. When we are passionate about something, it easy to take offense, be deeply hurt, or to offend those whose opinions or understandings are be different than ours. By waiting until we are firmly grounded, we are able to let our lives be our testimony, we’ll have experiences to share, and have a better understanding of what it means to be on the journey embarked upon. This enables us to have more compassion and communicate from a place of love and wisdom versus one of only excitement and brashness. This is good!
Are we saying we should not tell anyone what we are learning for the first 4 years? Of course not; however, we may not want to be abrupt and exuberant with everyone we come in contact with. We want to make sure we are over the hurts we have experienced in our past (whether from the church, a person, feeling betrayed or lied to, etc.), before we start to share what we’ve learned. We need to exercise wisdom which may be to remain relatively silent on the subject. Instead of forcing ourselves and our beliefs on others, let our lives become grounded in truth and be a light to those around us. As we become more grounded in the Word and walking in the Creator’s ways, change is inevitable and it will be noticed by others. Let people come and ask you about the differences; don’t run after them with the Torah scroll spouting Scripture at them. If you do, the words are more likely to fall on deaf ears.
Following the example given in the Torah, we must establish our roots in the truth, learn to live set apart, and then begin bearing good fruit after a time. Again, our intentions may be good and out of love, but few of us are capable of answering the questions from a place of maturity that comes from being established in the Torah right away. It’s essential to be well established and able to communicate with only love if the person you are discussing things with is firmly entrenched in the doctrines of men. There should not be an “us versus them” mentality; we are all part of the same body. One group is not more holy because of their understanding, such thoughts and ideas are of the flesh. When new to the faith, we are more likely to respond in the flesh despite our best efforts; even if it’s because we do care so much and deeply about the Word, the truth, and our loved ones. Before going out and attacking the world, first stop and make sure you are firmly rooted in the Word and have an attitude of love. People love passion, but when it’s more of a selfish passion (more about what you know) than a selfless passion (all about them), then they are only turned off; for some it may turn them from the truth for a long time, hardening their hearts because of their experience. What fruit do you want to bear, sweet fruit from a mature firmly rooted tree, or young and bitter fruit that isn’t quite ready yet?
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