As a fruit tree goes throught many phases of growth in the natural world, so it is in the spirit realm with the saints of God. Let us now investigate Eight stages for developing a mature, healthy apple tree and relate those stages to the process God takes us through.
8 Stages of Growth of an Apple Fruit Tree
In prunning, the Apple tree is cut so that sunlight, essential for growth, can reach the inner branches. The Lord occasionally has to prune away needless branches in our lives that, otherwise, could prevent his light from shinning upon our innermost parts. His Light is as essential to our lives as sunlight is to any plant’s life.
Before the Apple fruit begins to grow in June, the tree is fertilized some time around april to ensure it’s capability for growth. “And he answering said unto him, Lord, Let alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it” (Luke 13:8). Even though being fertilized may seem like an unpleasant process to go through, it is necessary to provoke your growth and increase your stability.
Grass is grown in apple orchards to prevent the erosion of soil and to supplement the organic composition. If the grass gets too long, however, it begins competing for moisture with the apple trees, so it must be cut four to six times each year.
Though shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serv them: for i the lord thy God am a jealous God. (Exodus 20:5).
Often there are things in our lives that compete with God, just as grass competes with an apple tree for nutrients. Since God is not willing that we should share his glory with any other, He sometimes must cut these things out of their lives. This ensures that he receives the glory he deserves, while also saving us from distractions that can rob us of necessary valuable nutrients.
To protect the apples from damage by the insects and other pests, the apple must be sprayed with a safe pesticide. This helps prolong the tree’s growing season, allowing the apples to reach full maturity. God too must sometimes come to kill the things within us that are preventing our growth, but the “pesticides” He uses will never damage the good-us.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
God knows how to deliver you “from noisome pestilence” (psalm 91:3). He can destroy the enemy without destroying you in the process.
Most apple trees must be cross-pollinated from a variety of apple trees in order to produce adequate fruit. Sometimes, as a means of cross-pollination, God moves us out of our comfort zones and places us around those who can stimulate our growth.
Each bud on an apple tree yeilds five flowers. In apple thinning, some of the flowers are removed while they’re still in bloom to allow the remaining flowers to grow into larger, healthier apples. In the same way, God removes the unwanted (corrupt) or unnecessary (excesss) fruit in our lives, which gie only the illusion of sucess. The removal of these illusory fruits allows the good fruits to grow to the fullness of their potential.
Foliage Removal and Apple Turning. In foilage removal, the leaves that cast shadows on the apples, and thus prevent the sweetness of their pulp and the intense colors of their peels from fully developing, are removed. An experienced gardener must also turn the apples so that sunlight can hit them at all angles. (An inexperienced gardner will turn the fruit too far, causing it to fall to the ground). God, like a gardener, makes sure we get all the light we need.
The dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shawdow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:78-79)
After Many months, the apples are finally picked, one by one and with care, so as not to damage them in the process. God uses those who understand the worth, value, and destiny to harvest us for the glory of His kingdom, so that our purpose might be fulfilled.
God is a gentle gardener. He will never cut off branches that we need or turn our apples so far that they fall off, unless they are bad apples that must be removed, that is. Yet even though He is gentle, He still does His gardener duties, some of which are bound to be painful. But remember this important fact: It is all for his glory and for our good. We have to go through hard times of hurt before we can enjoy seasons of fruitfulness.
Hopefulness for Harvest Time
When a fruit tree goes through its fruit-bearing process, it endures a lot. In addition to all the prunning, fertilizing, pest treatments, and foliage removal, it deals with sun, snow, frost, and rain. It faces a lot of extremes.
I looked at the poor apple tree in front of my house one day. All winter long it looked so sad; eventually, I pronounced the tree dead. “Nothing good is coming from that tree this year,” I concluded. “You are through now, brother.” But when i arose one morning and peered through the window at the tree, I saw little buds on the limbs. That tree fought all winter. It struggled and struggled, and i thought it was going to die. I proclaimed its fate and its doom “Yeah, you are gone brother” and never thought to helpo it along. I never even wondered if it might survive. For me, it was a done deal: This tree was dead.
But it wasnt. God had other plans. He held it in the warmth of his hands all winter long, keeping it alive and preparing it for harvest. He allowed the buds that had been lying dormant to burst forth in new life. He works this way in our lives too. We all go through seasons of cold, seasons of winter, seasons of death. Other people may see you havent got a chance, just as i thought th e apple tree was dead. “I think you are through”, they conclude. “You are never going to bring forth anything good.” But God works through these hard times, strenghtening His trees for beautiful autumn harvests.
When we see our brothers and sisters in Christ struggling through life’s storms and cold spells, let us not pronounce their deaths. Let us encourage them instead! Let us reming each other of the great Gardener, God, who reaps abundant harvests even after the worst of storms. Let us build each other up and tell each other, “Hang in there. Harvest time has almost come.”