We can learn a lot about leading a fruitful Christian life by thinking about the circumstances of the “tree planted near streams” that “bears fruit in season” described in Psalm 1. Three things come to the fore: humility, patience, and the fact that fruitfulness takes real effort.
So it is with us. God provides his richest blessings to those who do not elevate themselves, but instead humbly go where He is, even if, by worldly standards, that is beneath them. See Philippians 2:5-11, Hebrews 12:2, Proverbs 15:33 and 18:12.
The same is true of us. We too must mature, both in our natural development and in our relationship with Christ, before we can bear fruit. There’s no rushing it, we just have to wait upon the Lord for Him to get the most out of us. And we have to be patient during the times between crops, recognizing that what we do then prepares us for future fruitfulness. See Psalm 37:9, Ecclesiastes (Qoheleth) 3:1-8, Sirach 6:19-20.
First, fruitfulness doesn’t just happen because the tree is provided with water and nutrients. It must absorb those essential ingredients and convert them to leaves, flowers, and fruit. Once fruit forms, the tree must continue to nurture and support it as it grows and ripens until harvesting.
And that’s not the half of it. A tree must go through a lot that’s not directly related, but essential, to producing a crop. It must weather cold winters and hot summers, wind storms and, since it’s planted by a river, the pressure of flood waters once or twice a year.
Christians must likewise put real effort into producing the fruit that God expects from us. We must take what God gives us for His purposes and be sure to do all it takes to turn it into the harvest He seeks. We too must persevere through the difficulties that are an unavoidable part of this life. Although we can’t bear fruit without God’s gracious provision, that provision will go for naught if we don’t do our part. See Matthew 10:22, 24:13; Romans 2:7; Hebrews 10:36; James 1:3; II Peter 1:6.