Fruit... Maybe we don't consciously think about it too much, (or at all), and maybe this sounds like a statement from Captain Obvious, but fruit is a sign of health from a life giving tree or vine. We landed on the island of Capri this last Saturday, and as we drove up to our hotel, there were vineyards and lemon trees everywhere. It's breathtakingly magical here, so much so, that it seems as though we were dropped straight into a romantic movie set. Our journey took us up the island to 'Ana Capri', and as we drove, on the side of the road, at fruit stands, shops, and entry ways into many of the restaurants, were trays of some of the biggest lemons I have ever seen in my life - some of them nearly the size of my head! Everything here seems to be in season, and flourishing beautifully.
When you or I look at a tree, and see that it's full of fruit in due season, we know it's a healthy tree, planted in good soil, pruned at the right times, watered, cultivated and nurtured by its owner. We are much the same as a fruit tree, or vine - either bearing fruit in the right seasons, or drying up and withering away due to lack of connection to the TRUE vine. If the latter is your portion, it's critical to ask yourself just what you are connected to.
Success in life = Fruit. Not achievement, big numbers, status, being known, or even faithfulness. Yes, some of those things might be considered fruit, but hopefully, our achievements, status, and faithfulness (ect.) to Jesus bring the right, lasting fruit. If we are truly successful in life, we will be known as, and be remembered once we're gone, as true disciples of Jesus Christ, and the proof will be in the pudding, or in keeping with the analogy, the fruit. You will live a life with nothing to prove, and nothing to hide, whilst enjoying the process of being a follower of Jesus Christ.
In John 15, Jesus draws this parallel as an illustration to make it clear and obvious to us how to bear fruit in our lives.
John 15:1-8 NIV
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."
We all want to bear fruit, but when the Kingdom process commences, we want to bear fruit another way... Or Maybe that's just me?!?! We can see from John 15 that it's a choice to remain. Remain in Christ, in the true vine... Not in our thoughts, or our safe places, but in Christ. And when The Father starts the cutting off and pruning process, take it as a compliment. He wants MORE for you. He even cuts back the good stuff so you can bear MORE of it. And if certain things are being cut off of your life, take a look at them. Maybe they weren't bearing fruit in the first place. Our Father knows what we need, when we need it. We just have to trust Him and trust the process.
Stop for a moment and take a look at the fruit in your life? Do you see any? Are you aware of your season? Are you being pruned to bear more fruit in certain areas? Are things being cut off that aren't bearing fruit? What have you been remaining in, or connected to? Because apart from Jesus you can do nothing, and He strongly says that the things that we do apart from Him are like a branch that withers and is thrown into the fire. Harsh, but true. So often, we remain in the muck of our situation rather then repent, turn from our ways, and step back into the arms of Jesus. Maybe we're remaining in the negative prophesies that someone spoke over our lives that are just lies, and it's time to come back into agreement with the truth. Sometimes we remain in, or stay connected to people or environments that don't cultivate truth in love, and instead we're seeing bitterness, un-forgiveness and anger as a withering branch in our lives. Maybe there are thought processes you are allowing to germinate in your mind, that are becoming unhealthy thought patterns, that have sunk into your heart, and come out of your mouth as a belief system.
I would say, if any of the above are true, it's time to make some changes...
- It's time to take thoughts captive and make them obedient to the mind of Christ. Even moment by moment if need be... But be transformed inside and out by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2) You have to consciously do this.
- It's time to trust God and allow things to be cut off that we have been holding onto, that have caused a withering effect in our lives.
- It's time to change our relationships and environments to be connected to the one and only true vine - Jesus Christ.
- It's time to come into agreement with the truth of the word of God, and break agreement with lies that we have allowed to become a part of who we are. Lies are not our inheritance. Everything that Jesus has is. (John 16:15)
- It's time to be pruned in areas where maybe we've become prideful, because of the harvest of fruit that we have already seen, and God is saying... "There's MORE!". Pruning brings humility, and allows us once again to see who The Farmer is that cultivates our lives.
Why is bearing fruit so important? Why does this even matter?
"This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." John 15:8 NIV
Because it shows who's we are. It glorifies our Father in Heaven without us even speaking a word. Those in your family, workplace, neighborhood, in your sphere of God given influence will see what a TRUE disciple looks like, and will want to have what your having.