"You will recognize them by their fruits.....every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit." Matthew 7:16,17
"And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs" Mark 11:13
Jesus makes it very clear that he is not looking for showy leaves but rather fruit. He rebuked a fig tree that had the leaves that appeared in season with fruit but after checking there were no figs.
Leaves represent outward appearance. The pharisees had a leafy presentation. But leaves are not fruit.
Fruit represents a consumable, seed-bearing, and life-giving substance that is produced by the tree.
Leaves can look impressive in number and action. They can make a tree look like it is fruitful but when inspected you can observe that there really is no fruit, or it is bad fruit.
Some practical fruits: would be devotion to Jesus, love for his body, and especially the making of other disciples.
We are definitely not as leafy as we used to be. We have had seasons where there was lots of fanfare and noise. But in the end, among all the leafiness, there tended to be some bad fruit.
Praise the Lord that we are in a more fruitful season. We are seeing so many acts of love for Jesus and his body as well as multiple new disciples and baptisms. So praise God for his wise pruning of our spiritual family and our individual hearts, that we may bear much fruit for his glory.