Fruit that Lasts
We know that as followers of Jesus, we are called to produce fruit for the glory of God, but what does that mean practically?
Here is a quick look at six different types of fruit.
- Soul winning
A follower of Jesus will have a passion to tell others about Jesus. When Jesus called Simon Peter and Andrew in Mark 1:17, he said, “follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. The Apostle Paul was passionate about winning souls for Jesus fruit (Romans 1:13).
This can be as easy as inviting your neighbor to church or beginning a Gospel conversation with your co-worker. It begins with praying for the people that God has placed in our sphere of influence.
As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we become more like him. We grow in behavior that brings glory to God (Romans 6:22). As we grow in holiness, we change the way we think, speak and react in situations. Holiness cannot be manufactured; it comes from abiding in the vine. Holiness focuses the attention on Jesus, the source of holiness.
Followers of Jesus should be known for their generosity, remembering that everything we have comes from our Heavenly Father and that He never runs out (1 John 3:17).
This principle of giving is that it is impossible to outgive God.
Worshiping God in giving begins with giving 10% to your local church, but that is just the beginning. Once we take the 10% off the table, the Lord asks us how are we stewarding the other 90%. That is where the fruit of generosity is truly displayed.
- Fruit of the Spirit
In Galatians 5:22-23 we have a list called the fruit of the Spirit. These are all produced in our lives as we die to ourselves and submit our lives to the control of the Holy Spirit.
Being able to display these fruit of the Spirit when the world around us seems to be falling apart, is the work of the Holy Spirit. This will draw the attention to the source of your peace and bring glory to God.
We are saved to serve by giving our time and energy (Colossians 1:10 and Matthew 5:16).
This is not doing things out of duty, guilt or to trying to earn points with God, rather as abiding branches in the vine we will produce as we were designed to do (Ephesians 2:10).
When you are serving the Lord, doing what you were created to do, it will bring life and bring glory to God.
Living a lifestyle of praise is a by-product of abiding in the vine. If you are getting your strength from Jesus, living in a close walk with him, you will be filled with praise (Hebrews 13:15). This is the praise that comes from the heart, singing out of the abundance of the blessings of God on our lives. Praising God even in the painful situations of life, brings glory to God.
These are just six examples of fruit, but for the vine to be fruitful, there needs to be a vinedresser who tends to the vine.
Jesus said in John 15:1 that His Father is the vinedresser. God the Father is the one who is in charge of caring for the vine and ensuring that it produces fruit.
Part of the job of any vinedresser is pruning. Often Christians pray that God will make them more fruitful, but they do not enjoy the pruning process that follows.
A vinedresser prunes by cutting away dead wood and also by cutting away living branches that are taking away nutrients from the branches that are bearing more fruit. God wants an abundant harvest and sometimes that requires a painful process.
However, the greatest judgement God could bring to a believer is to leave him or her alone. In a garden the vinedresser is never closer to the vine than when he is pruning. If you think that you are going through a tough time and God is pruning you, remember that He is close and He is preparing you for more fruit.
This happens in our churches as well. Sometimes God prunes ministries and programs that we have become comfortable with, God prunes them not because they aren’t producing fruit, but God prunes them and directs our attention to another opportunity that produces much more fruit.
God prunes in different ways, often it is through the reading and application of the Word of God. Sometimes, as we read and hear the Word of God, we are convicted, and God cuts to our heart bringing us to repentance (John 15:3)
Many times, the pruning process comes from difficult situations around us, hardship, sickness, and loss. It is a fact of life that we seldom grow without pain James 1:2-4).
I believe this applies to the church as well as individuals. We have been praying for revival in the church, and we can see God pruning His church in answer to our prayers.
But the reality is that the church in America was not producing fruit. The church as a whole has compromised with culture rather than influencing culture.
God is refining and pruning the church and only the church that is being refined by the whole Word of God will produce fruit.
In verses 7 and 16, we have two promises from Jesus to answer prayers. Both these verses are in the context of producing fruit for the kingdom of God. When we are abiding in the vine, our desire will be to produce fruit.
What are you praying for?