“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you.” (John chapter 15 verse 16 AMP)
Bearing fruit is of utmost importance because that fruit will have to be of similar attributes to the tree or plant it has grown out of, if it is to be considered of any significant worth and use. One would find it rather odd and disturbing if grapes grew out of a mango tree and that is same for any one who claims to be a Christian and does not increasingly exhibit traits that are in congruence with the person of Christ. Jesus was talking incredible sense when he said in Matthew chapter 7 verse 16 to 20 (AMP):
“You will fully recognize them by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every healthy (sound) tree bears good fruit [worthy of admiration], but the sickly (decaying, worthless) tree bears bad (worthless) fruit. A good (healthy) tree cannot bear bad (worthless) fruit, nor can a bad (diseased) tree bear excellent fruit [worthy of admiration]. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Therefore, you will fully know them by their fruits.”
So how exactly do we bear the kind of fruit God intends and desires for us to bear?
1) It starts with the Holy Spirit:
One of the key transactions that happens to a person once they accept Christ in their heart and confess Him as Lord and Personal Saviour is that they also receive the Holy Spirit who indwells in them. The Bible doesn’t say dwell but rather indwell which signifies permanency. What should subsequently happen is that we become more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we allow Him do His work in us, primarily to reveal all truth to us, in conjunction with what we also meditate on in the Bible, in a way that continuously convicts us to repentance and submission to God’s perfect will for our lives.
This process of continuous conviction to repentance and submission should then manifest in the fruit of the Spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians chapter 5 verse 22 to 23 AMP)
The more we allow the Holy Spirit free rein in our lives, the more the traits of His fruit in us are apparent to all because our behavioural choices increasingly resemble that of Christ.
2) Remain, Dwell, Abide:
Jesus said “Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.” (John chapter 14 verses 4 to 5 AMP).
Thankfully 1 John chapter 2 verse 5b to 6 (AMP) gives us a clear indicator for what remaining/dwelling/abiding/living in Christ looks like: “By this we know [for certain] that we are in Him: whoever says he lives in Christ [that is, whoever says he has accepted Him as God and Savior] ought [as a moral obligation] to walk and conduct himself just as He walked and conducted Himself.“
And how do you walk and conduct yourself like Christ? Study His lifestyle as narrated in the Bible, imbibe His teachings on love and how we should treat others and with the continuous yielding to the Holy Spirit indwelling within you, you’ll be a superstar for Christ!
3) Don’t bother pretending: Many-a-people have assumed that speaking Christianese and “acting Christian” (whatever that means) and busying ourselves with church-related activity would be taken as evidence of fruit, maybe because they have gotten human approval in the process and mistaken that for approval from God. Not to say that the outward actions aren’t representative of fruit but if you do all the right things outwardly but in your heart you remain self-centred, unforgiving, lusting after things of this world, you ain’t fooling God.
It is too easy to fall into Pharisee-mode based on how we think we appear to others rather than focusing on the condition of our hearts given that, “…the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel chapter 16 verse 7b AMPC).
The following examples will illustrate further how much the state of our hearts are a BIG DEAL to God:
- Jesus clearly warned that, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name? And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].” (Matthew chapter 7 verses 21 to 23). This gives me mad chills that one can even work miracles in Christ’s name and get public recognition for being “powerful men and women of God” but still be rejected by God if their heart is not right.
- Ever thought it a bit odd why Jesus cursed that fig tree (Mark chapter 11 verses 12 to 14) for having no fruit? Well, the fruit of a fig tree would usually appear before the leaves and then the fruit is green so it blends in with the leaves until it’s almost ripe. Although it wasn’t the main fig growing season, Jesus and His disciples expected to be able to get some fruit because the leaves (outward appearance) would usually indicate the presence of fruit. But that wasn’t the case and Jesus cursed it and it withered. Ouch!
4) Know what kind of fruit we should NOT be bearing:
“But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts]. For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do. But if you are guided and led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the Law. Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians chapter 5 verses 16 to 21 AMP)
So in summary, bearing fruit is really about how we bring glory to God with our lives; grow spiritually and; be a sign-post for others to come to know God for themselves.
In the name of Jesus, we will not fall short of bearing fruit that is pleasing to God. Amen.