Jesus said a disciple would bear fruit. Fruit bearing is not something that comes from merely trying hard. Jesus says the only way to bear eternal fruit is to stay close to Him. We are to be like a branch attached to a vine (see: John 15:5). If we endeavor to accomplish something apart from Christ, our efforts will produce absolutely nothing of eternal significance. Like the other marks, Christ presents as distinguishing His disciples, bearing fruit, is not something we merely will our self into accomplishing. Instead, it is the life-result of God showering a believer with His grace. A follower of Christ who is experiencing God’s extravagant love and leadership will bear fruit.
A careful reading of John 15:1-9 reveals some useful insights. For instance, we discover in verse seven that a believer, whose mind is being transformed by God, can ask for anything and receive it. However, there is a crucial caveat. Such a believer must ask in Christ’s name in accordance with His character and for His glory. If a believer truly abides in Jesus, they will desire and will pray according to His words, and those prayers will be pleasing to Him.
We discover that Christ’s disciples glorify God by bearing fruit. Jesus said, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8). We often think about glorifying God as we sing praises to Him. This is true enough, but God calls us to glorify Him with more than words. A believer glorifies God when they bear much fruit for the advancement of His kingdom on earth.
The critical thing to note is that when the follower of Christ is connected to Him, it is God who makes the bearing of fruit possible. God makes it happen! This passage shows that God is glorified when people are brought into a right relationship with Him. These disciples will soon begin to “bear much fruit” in their lives.
Paul writes to the Galatians: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Gal 5:22-23). When a believer is under the control of the Holy Spirit the fruit of the Spirit evidences his or her life as Christ’s disciple.
The fruit of the Spirit is a result of the Holy Spirit working in the life of a believer. These fruits produce traits like those found in Jesus Christ. The fruit is not of any human origin, but the product resulting from Christ’s control of a person’s life. We cannot produce the fruit in our own strength. The fruit is produced when our life is joined with the Lord’s. We must know Him and walk in obedience with Him.
Growing in Christ (abiding in Him) takes studying and applying God’s Word, sharing our faith, and among other spiritual exercises prayer. Prayer is a dynamic dialogue with God that helps us grow in our relationship with Him. It is one way our will is molded into that of the Lord’s. We discover in Matthew 6:9-13 a lesson Jesus teaches His disciples on prayer. He actually gives an example of how to pray.
Someone once shared with me the acrostic (A.C.T.S.) to help guide me as I pray. I was told to remember that these are the acts of prayer. The “A” stands for adoration where we spend some time praising God. Be specific! The “C” stands for confession. Here we ask God to examine our hearts and deal with any sin issues. The “T” stands for thanksgiving. Spend some time thanking God for all he has done. Be personal! Finally, the “S” stands for supplication, where we intercede on behalf of our needs and the needs of others. We seek God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.
Recently I have been using a resource at blesseveryhome.com that allows me to adopt a portion of my neighbors to pray over. It sends me out a daily email with five neighbors I can pray for each day. It even gives me some suggestions on how to pray for them. It also encourages me to share the love and message of Christ with them. Here is the simple truth, it is impossible to grow in Christ (abiding in Him) and not partner with Him in His work and bear fruit.
The good news is that the fruit we are to bear as disciples of Jesus is not by our own effort, but the by-product of God working in us. No doubt one of the main purposes of the Christian life is to progressively allow the Holy Spirit to produce more and more of His fruit in our lives—and to let the Holy Spirit conquer the opposing sinful desires that linger form our old life or self. The fruit of the Spirit is what God desires our lives to exhibit and, with the Holy Spirit’s help, it is possible. This is a beautiful mark of a disciple.
Let’s encourage one another to abide in our Lord. I pray we will surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s leadership and by His power bear much fruit. When we partner with the Lord He does amazing work in and through us where God is glorified, we are blessed, and others benefit. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone!).