I was reading John 15 this week and stumbled upon a passage I’ve heard a thousand times over. I even know a song I learned in middle school that has some of this scripture in it, and I can sing it to you word for word! But this particular day, these words hit me in a different way. A way I understood more than ever before. You are probably familiar with this passage too…. the vine and the branches. Take a look with me at John 15:
“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. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 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” (verses 1-5).
This is Jesus talking to His disciples at the last supper. Jesus is the vine. God the Father is the vinedresser; the one who prunes, trains, and cultivates the vine. We are the branches Jesus is talking about in this passage. If we don’t bear fruit, we are taken away, but if we do bear fruit, God continues to prune us to get rid of all the dead places in us that we may become healthy fruit-bearing branches once again. So how in the world do we go about bearing fruit? We must abide in the vine-Jesus Christ. He says,” the branch cannot bear fruit by itself.” He doesn’t say “it WILL not” bear fruit, as if it had a choice. He says, it literally CANNOT. The branch has no capability of bearing fruit on its’ own. Therefore, we cannot bear good fruits apart from Christ. Apart from Him we can do nothing, the Scripture tells us. We are worthless!
The passage continues:
“If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (verses 6-11).
How do people know we are followers of Jesus? They know by our fruits! So, this “fruit talk” is pretty important, after all! Our mission here on earth is to take the Gospel to the nations and show Christ’s love to the whole world. So, I say bearing fruit is absolutely vital! This is the way others know we love Christ! Not to mention, these verses say God is glorified when we bear much fruit. Our purpose is to BRING God GLORY!
Matthew Henry’s commentary says this about bearing fruit:
“We must be fruitful. From a vine we look for grapes and from a Christian we look for Christianity; this is the fruit, a Christian temper and disposition, a Christian life and conversation, Christian devotions and Christian designs. We must honour God, and do good, and exemplify the purity and power of the religion we profess; and this is bearing fruit.”
When we bear fruit, we bear the image and disposition of Christ. We begin to look more like Him!
As I thought about all this throughout my day, I tried to evaluate myself a bit. How am I doing bearing fruit? If I’m honest, I’ve felt like a slacker lately. I can make excuses all I want…toward the end of both my pregnancies so far, I’ve gotten super lazy, So I haven’t been abiding in God’s word. I’ve noticed myself losing patience with Liam more quickly than I normally do. Not to mention, I’ve been snapping at my husband lately. So, how’s my fruit production? I’m going to go with pretty lousy! Moody, losing patience, being lazy…none of these sound like Christ.
So, here I am at a crossroads. I can remain complacent or fight this urge to be lazy with all that’s in me. I can pray through the seeming silence. And I can accept the grace God pours over me. I can place myself in the vine and rely on Him to produce the fruit through me. Who’s with me sisters? How’s your fruit production?