Feb 13, 2012, 12:02 PM
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” (John 15.16)
One major element indispensable for bearing fruit that we must not lose sight of, relates to our attitude and our status; where we stand. Who is our source? From where are we watered? A tree needs to be watered regularly. Indeed, it requires a constant supply of water to survive.
The Bible recognises that source for our survival and compares that person to “a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:3) That kind of person is blessed, which means s/he is happy because s/he would not “walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.” That individual has something to show as fruit.
Our source is important. This was made explicit when our Lord Jesus explained the parable of the sower to His disciples. The seeds that fell by the roadside, those that fell on a hard surface, as well as those that fell among thorns could not survive to the extent of producing fruits. They were either eaten up by birds, could not grow roots deep enough or were choked. The conditions were not favourable for them to survive to the point of bearing fruits. On the other hand, those that produced fruit and by so doing had something to show for their passage here on earth, were the seeds that survived on fertile soil.
God will judge us based on our faith in Him and are willingness to obey His word. Those who do not mock or spend time in the company of those who discredit or ridicule Him will be happy. Their condition is likened to healthy fruit-bearing trees with strong roots. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
It is clear from the above that we must flourish by bearing luscious fruits; to do so would mean staying connected and soaked in the word of God, which is the Bible. Our hearts must be imbued with God’s word if we are to produce results.
Applying wisdom, which comes from God, in our daily lives, is a special ingredient in the fruit-bearing process. Our Lord Jesus in His teachings qualifies such persons as either wise or foolish. “Everyone that hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man that built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24) A house constructed on a rock can better withstand the vagaries of the weather than the house built on sand or in the mud. “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it has its foundation on the rock.” (Matthew 7:25)
That rock is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Rock of Ages, the rock that provided water for the Children of Israel as they journeyed through the desert into the Promised Land. He is a stable source of help and comfort. If we rely on Him for everything, He will lead the Way, teach us the Truth and give us the quality kind of life, which is everlasting.
James, the Lord’s brother, in his epistle admonishes that the person who looks “intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continue to do this, nor forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:25) He underlines our ability to stay with, and in the word, doing what the Word says; adhering to, and abiding by it. That is the reason for which we shall bear fruit in season and in abundance.
Paul in his writings defines some essential qualities which he qualifies as ‘the fruit of the spirit.’ These are summarised thus: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22) These are qualities that we as believers of Jesus Christ should emulate. They constitute the characteristics of Christ, the Messiah, during His earthly ministry. To be like Him, we must reflect these characteristics as well. Paul concludes that no one can be charged for breaking the law when we practise these things. So also, we shall reveal our identity in Christ when we bear fruits of this nature - far removed from ‘the acts of the sinful nature’ which constitute sexual immorality and witchcraft and a list of other negative aspects which are the source of strife and discord in our communities today.
Sound knowledge of the Word of God as contained in the Bible should be our guide in the course of 2012. Living by the precepts of our Lord Jesus Christ so that we may seek to model our lives on Him and thus prepare for eternal life, is what is required of us. We cannot do this in our own strength but in His power. For it is; “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)
Does this look like an uphill task? Would it be too difficult to accomplish? Not if we seek God’s help. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29.13)