This last month the topic of bearing fruit has been on my mind a lot. From the many passages in scripture that talk about fruit in the Bible, one thing is abundantly clear, whether you are a “hardcore” Christian or just a Christian in the most basic sense of the word, if you are a Christian at all it will be evidenced by fruit in your life. I believe most Christians know this to some degree, but many misunderstand it. Whether they believe they can produce fruit on their own, whether they believe that the fruit is what saves them or that you have to have a certain amount (works salvation) or if they believe there is nothing that we as Christians are required to do to produce Godly Fruit. To some degree most of these interpretations are true, but are not the whole truth, and half truths lead to deception, bondage and a false view of God. So in this post I would like to share my understanding of what the Bible says regarding, what fruit is, and how it is produced in our lives.
First we have to discuss some basics to create a framework to work in. 1) The Bible makes it very clear that we cannot earn our salvation. No one is worthy of this Free Gift that God gave to us when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins and pay the price for them. So any idea that fruit is a way of earning Salvation or paying God back is in clear contradiction to scripture.
2) The Bible also makes it very clear that ALL Christians will bear fruit. Not just really good Christians.
3) The Bible also makes it clear that our flesh is to weak to do anything that God is asking us to do properly. And that it is only through our new spiritual lives and the Supernatural Power of God in us and through us that we can do those things that God asks us to do that go against what our fleshly desires. Now this is not to say that we can’t “appear” to do them, but rather to have true victory over our flesh it requires Gods power in our lives.
So so now the question becomes “what is this fruit that the Bible talks about so much?” My understanding of the answer to this question is; the fruit that the Bible says we all will bear after becoming Christians is the results of Jesus Christ coming into our lives and us submitting to Him as our Lord and Saviour. James mocks people in the Bible who were claiming that they were Christians but didn’t have any evidence of that claim in their lives. He does this because he is defending the simple yet important truth that when you ask the Creator of the universe to be your Lord and to rule your life it will automatically begin to cause evident changes in your life. Now by “evident changes” in your life I don’t necessarily mean “big, or drastic” changes, although enough small changes ultimately will result in a big difference. But by change I mean it could be as simple as someone who use to do something sinful accepts Jesus into their life and then continues to do a sinful act the Holy Spirit will now convict them in any area that Jesus is asking them to change in. Sometimes we can’t see the fruit growing in a persons life because it’s in the early stages and is starting in their heart and in their mind. This is why only God can ultimately say whether a person is truly saved or not. One of the best examples of this truth is the thief on the cross next to Jesus. If we didn’t know what happened between Jesus and the thief none of us would have probably assumed that the thief went to heaven. And even if we had just heard the words the thief had said “when you enter into your kingdom, remember me” we would probably never have guessed the response Jesus gave. But we know there must have been some sort of fruit, some sort of change, why? Because Jesus replied “I tell you before this day is over you will be with me in paradise!”
So far we know that fruit is a result of making Jesus Christ the Lord and Saviour of our lives. And that it often starts in the heart before it is visible on the outside. But now I would like to discuss how we get fruit in our lives practically speaking. Many Christians believe that fruit isn’t necessary, others on the other hand realize that it is necessary and exhaust themselves trying to grow fruit in their lives through ministry, devotions, shame, guilt, condemnation and many other ways that are vain attempts. Why are they vain attempts you ask? Because we cannot MAKE fruit grow in our lives. The fruit like I said is a result of Jesus Christ working in us as we make Him Lord of our lives, through submission to Him. Should Christians do devotions? Yes! But that’s very different than saying Devotions are what make a person a Christian, is it not? Just like a pilots ability to fly a plane does not come from wearing a uniform, but from the hundreds of hours of practice and training. In the same way, the fruit that is produced in our lives does not come from simply putting on a “Christian Uniform”.
Now, for the One step for producing fruit in our lives that I advertised in the title of this post, here it is: Spend lots of time getting to know Jesus Christ in a personal and intimate way! I know for many of you task orientated people this may seem like a very vague piece of instruction, and almost more difficult then 20 clear steps. But I beg you to recall the piece of scripture where Jesus’s disciples asked him for instructions on how to become like Jesus and Jesus replied with a very graphic statement “Eat my flesh and drink my blood!” I can only imagine how frustrating this would have seemed to the disciples at the time, but it parallels exactly what I am prescribing. What Jesus meant was, get to know me! Digest everything that I share with you! If you think of an Apple tree. How does an apple tree bear fruit? Like, what does it DO to bear fruit? It cannot plant the seed that it grows out of, nor choose the place in which it is planted. But once planted, it starts to grow from a seed into a big tree that eventually bears apples. The most it ever does is sway side to side in the wind. But where do the apples come from? What makes them start to grow? It’s the life/ nutrients that flow through it as it stands there DOING nothing but soaking up sunlight and other nutrients from the ground. It does not make the life flow through it, but merely allows it to flow through it and as a result it bears fruit. This is a perfect parallel to how we bear fruit as Christians. As we spend time getting to know Jesus, through spending time with Him and reading scripture(the bread of Life) and hearing Him speak, the fruit or change that happens to us is supernatural and comes from us staying connected to Jesus! Do you see how this is such a freeing revelation!? God promises that if we do the one thing we were made to do, spend time pursuing a relationship with Him and glorifying Him, He will cause fruit or change to happen. People who once were addicted to something are able to overcome the addiction. People who use to be violent become compassionate. People who struggled with finding their identity become confident in their identity in Christ!
So in closing I want to encourage you to not waste anymore time trying to cause Fruit in your life. Get rid of that false belief that going to church, doing devos, or doing any of the disciplines on their own can cause real fruit to grow! All of those disciplines are good, but only if used as a tool for actually meeting with Jesus Christ and getting to know Him. Just stand firm in Jesus and soak up the love and the life that will flow through you as He reveals more and more of Himself to you! That way when you start bearing fruit it will not be a burden when others feed off of your fruit, because you are connected to the source of the fruit. Amen!
(If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org)