People desire to live a fruitful life, but for many it seems to be an elusive quest. One of the problems is that we think that we can bear fruit in our own strength. Jesus gives us the key to fruitfulness in His farewell message to His disciples,
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
The key to bearing much fruit is to realize that although I can’t – He can. Jesus does not tell me to try harder, do more, be better, or act like I’ve got it together. He asks me to do one thing – abide in Him. The word “abide” is a favorite word of the apostle John and it conveys the idea to remain or stay. This is the idea of one who is plugged into the power source. Just as an appliance needs to be plugged into a power source, so we must be connected to the true vine which is Jesus. You can abide in Jesus as you read the Bible and pray and draw close to Him.
If we don’t realize our dependence upon Jesus, then we will be tempted to rely upon our own strength. We may be able to achieve earthly accomplishments, but they will not have a spiritual legacy. The prophet Isaiah gives us a picture of work that is done in our own strength,
For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
We must not deceive ourselves. If we think that we are wise in this age, then we must become foolish, so that we may become wise in a spiritual sense. If we can learn to abide in Jesus then there is a wonderful promise – you will bear much fruit. There is both an internal and external aspect of fruit. The internal aspect refers to our character, the fruit of the Spirit,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
There is also an external component to bearing fruit as you manifest good works,
so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Colossians 1:10)
God’s desire is that you will bear much fruit for His glory. If you abide in Him then His promise is sure.
Associate Pastor – Discipleship. The Church at LifePark
Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University
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