“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.” (Jn 15:16)
I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around exactly what Jesus meant by bearing fruit, fruit that will last. I love my Savior and want to produce lots of fruit for His glory out of my gratitude.
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (Jn 15:8)
We have the list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians [But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)], and we discovered last week that this fruit is primarily for others, not ourselves!
We also know that some of the things that will last throughout eternity are God, His Word, and the souls of men. Therefore, lasting fruit has to include the salvation of a soul and its spiritual growth.
So how do we put the Galatians’ list and these facts together? I think this is how it works….
The fruit of the Spirit is essentially exhibiting the character qualities of Christ. Jesus was loving, joyous, at peace, patient, and so on to perfection. If I am becoming more like Christ then I am developing the fruit of the Spirit in me. This is spiritual growth.
As you and I become more like Jesus, our lives will be glorifying to God and attractive to the lost (if they are open to the truth). Our flourishing lives will then influence others to want the same for themselves. Those who say yes to God’s drawing and accept Jesus as their Savior are grafted unto Christ, the Vine. Then as they develop and mature, they in turn will produce their own fruit of the Spirit.
Just like we cannot produce this fruit ourselves (Jn 15:4-5), neither can we make others produce fruit. We don’t save others or make them spiritually grow—that’s God’s divine job.
But we can live in a way that draws others to Christ.
As we learn how to abide in Christ, the Vine and allow Him to do His perfect work in us, others will see the change; others will see His beauty within us.
Although we cannot make ourselves like Christ, we can cooperate with God. We can allow the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit to make us more loving, patient, kind…. And we do that by submitting to His will and purpose; by keeping an open heart (or stems) allowing the flow of the Holy Spirit’s grace and empowerment to transform us into Christ-likeness—to do what only He can do. That’s why it is called the fruit of the Spirit.
Now the impact we each have on others will vary. The amount, method, timing, and recipients of our influence are also determined by God. This is an area in which I so often struggle. I’m a doer and I want to see the fruit of my labor! But as Charles Stanley often says,
“Obey God and leave all the consequences (=results) up to Him.”
Jesus said that if I remain in Him and His words remain in me that I would bear much fruit. I need to believe that and trust God for it.
If you and I will just do our part and remain in and grow from the Vine, He will produce good and lasting results for His glory through us—which is most definitely lasting fruit!
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5)
So until next time, my friends, ask Jesus to teach you how to remain in Him so that you can bear much fruit—fruit that will last forever!
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Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica. All rights reserved worldwide.