Many of us as believers would agree that we are to “bear much fruit” as in John 15:8. I also know, because it is real in my life, that when I see evidence of fruit in my life (mostly behavior in myself that I would never have done before e.g. being patient when I am usually not patient) I am happy to tick fruit bearing off as a requirement of a believer. Never mind that it may be a once in a while demonstration of fruit (wink-wink).
“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be disciples.” (John 15:8)
We can see from the above that it’s God’s expectation for us to bear much fruit because it brings Him glory and shows that we are His disciples, bearing this fruit that is meant for the world.
- What happens if I don’t bear fruit?
If God desires for us to bear fruit, not bearing fruit bears consequences. We will face God’s discipline and scripture teaches God’s discipline is for our good (Heb 12:10).
“They (parents) disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.”
We will also be pruned by God says John 15:2. He does this so that we will experience new growth and become more fruitful.
“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
How do I know what fruit crop I have at the moment?
Self-examination is a good start. Take a good, hard look at yourself in a mirror (be honest with yourself, take off your masks), as well as taking a look in the mirror of God’s Word. James 1:23
“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
Another way is the “mirror of others”. Ask a faithful friend to check you out and give you feedback. Did you hear the word faithful? Don’t ask someone who’s got it in for you, but ask someone who demonstrates fruit in their own lives. Ask: ‘what not-so-good fruit do you see in me?’ then ask ‘what good fruit do you see?’ Acknowledge the good and be faithful to work on the bad.
- What does the quality of your fruit look like?
Quality is really what’s on the inside. Do you look good to the world from the outside having a nice firm, shiny skin, but tasteless on the inside? What does a bad “good-looking” fruit like?
- Is it rotten inside because you’re irritated and angry all the time?
- Is it bitter from un-forgiveness? Or bitter from a lack of love?
- Or is it small because you’re not generous?
- Is there no fruit because you’re complacent or full of apathy?
- Is it sour because you’ve sunk into the bad habit of bad thinking, bad talking and gossiping?
- Or is it incomplete? You’ve come to a standstill.
- How do I bear fruit?
When you look at an Orange tree you don’t see it trying to squeeze out oranges. It’s not: “Ooooh make oranges, make oranges.” No. The tree itself is following a process of growing. It absorbs the sunshine, gains nutrients from the soil and drinks deep from its root system. That is its designated work. By growing it will eventually yield fruit. First we need relationship with Jesus, he says to abide in Him, that is our designated work: “for apart from Me you can do nothing.”(John 15:5). Secondly, we need to grow! Phil 2:12 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” We are to grow by spending time in the Word of God and applying it to our lives.
WE need to get the SONshine, the S-O-N. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and drink deep and to gain nutrients from the soil, the Word of God. Fruit will then be a product of our lives.
Scripture says to eagerly desire the things of God (1 Cor 12:11 and 14:12) A tree doesn’t greet a new day with a “sigh…I suppose I have to draw water today” No, it drinks deep because it knows it has to grow, grow, grow to produce fruit. The more it does its designated work of growing, the bigger the crop. How does your crop of fruit look?
Remember fruit happens as the Holy Spirit works in our lives. You and your fruit are the evidence of this. Making fruit isn’t your job, growing in obedience to the Holy Spirit and God’s word is.
I declare that I am a person who bears much fruit as I listen to the Holy Spirit and apply the Word of God into my life. Father thank you that each day I am growing up as a believer, working out my salvation so that fruit will be evidenced in my life. Help me to honestly examine my life and investigate the quality of fruit in my life. Whatever area of my life is not producing fruit, help me to be patient in my discipline and pruning as You bring a greater fruitfulness in me. Thank you for the work You have already done in my life, but I praise You in the knowledge that Your work is not done yet and that You continue to work in me to bring about a greater fruitfulness and purpose to my life.
Your Spiritual Garden, is it Growing?