Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 19 November 19:
John 15:1, 2, 5 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit…. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Jesus desires and expects continual spiritual growth and fruitfulness from His followers, not from their abilities but through His life flowing into them and through them as they abide in Him. The primary focus of the Christian isn’t to produce fruit or to do the work of the Gardner, but rather to remain connected and focused on Him so growth and fruit will occur naturally. The vine merely abides, and God does the gardening. The growth process is often painful as God “prunes” your character to make it more Christ-like and productive. Pruning removes what hinders further growth. What must be removed from your life so that you may continue to grow in Christ?
God will prune away your idols of personal achievement to teach you to abide in Him alone and glorify Him alone “that your joy may be complete” in Him alone. (John 15:11) God will prune away those things we chase after which have no eternal value because He has “appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)
– Ecclesiastes 2:11 — “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
What sort of fruit does a Spirit-led Christian produce? First, there is the internal fruitfulness of the Spirit. See Galatians 5:22, 23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” The attributes God removes are those opposite of the Beatitudes – He prunes away pride, pleasure seeking, arrogance, self-sufficiency, cruelty, impurity, resentfulness, bitterness, defensiveness, etc. Bearing fruit glorifies God and proves our discipleship. (John 15:8)
Fruitfulness results in joyful obedience to God’s commands which is an essential attribute of genuine love. (John 15:10, 11, 17) Those who obey God’s commands with love and oneness with Him as their motive are friends with Christ and understand God’s will. (John 15:15) If we walk in obedience, we will walk in the power of God (meekness) and will have rest within our spirits even though we will be hated and persecuted by the world. In our persecution, we have true fellowship with Christ.
Finally, fruitfulness involves multiplication or reproduction – fruit ultimately makes more fruit. Fruitful Christians make disciples. How are you bearing fruit in this way, not you, but God through you?
– Matthew 28:18-20 — And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
– Colossians 1:5-6 — …because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.
– 1 Corinthians 3:5-8 — What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 19 November 19: Focus on abiding in Christ so you will naturally bear fruit.