Are you bearing fruit?

Published 7:17pm Friday, August 8, 2014

It was a bit of a gloomy occasion a few days ago as I cut down our tomato vines.

Although we probably did not make as many tomatoes this season as in the past, they tasted great this year.

I really hated to see them come to an end, but they had reached the point where their fruitfulness had almost ceased.  Besides that, I had become a little weary of dragging the water hose around to keep them alive during the extreme heat and lack of rain.  (It reminds me of what a dear old friend said to me several years ago about his peas:  “I grew these with a water hose in one hand and a spray gun in the other!”  But even against the obstacles of dry weather and bugs, Russell could grow the finest peas I have ever seen.)

I enjoy gardening and I do it with a primary goal in mind—the harvest.  I like to see plants emerge, thrive and grow, but that is not the real reason that I plant vegetables.

It is about what those plants produce, thus, allowing Gale and I to enjoy the result of their fruitfulness.

That goal was not reached when I planted some late cucumbers several weeks ago that have produced long vines and a tremendous amount of blooms, but very few edible cucumbers; that was a big disappointment.

God has placed us on earth so that we can be fruitful for Him.  Christ reminded His hearers of the importance of staying vitally attached to Him in order to be spiritually fruitful:  “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. 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” (John 15:4-5, New International Version).

The fruit that He expects us to bear includes such things as lives that honor Him through righteous living, Christian character that attracts others to Christ, a willingness to share the Good News of eternal life with others, and good deeds done for others through authentic love with no expectation of anything in return.  It is impossible to bear that kind of fruit in our human efforts alone no matter how talented we think we are; we must stay attached to Him and draw spiritual strength and ability from Him in order to achieve what God has called us to achieve.  We can be attached to Him through faith in Christ and surrendering of our lives to His control.  John 14:6 reminds us plainly of why it is necessary to trust Him:  “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Life can only reach its greatest degree of fulfillment as we submit to Christ and strive, with His help, to make it our goal in life to be spiritually productive for Him.  As we do, we should keep in mind the words of Christ recorded in John 15:8:  “This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.”

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