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Pointers along the way #666

Bearing fruit

- Jacob Ninan

Many Christians wrongly assume that all we need to do in order to bear fruit is to abide in Christ. This is based on Jesus' teaching that if we abide in Him we will bear fruit and that without Him we can do nothing (Jn.15:4,5). The whole truth revolves around how we understand 'abide'. If we think that since all true born again believers are 'in Christ' then it looks as if all we need to do is to remain 'in Christ'. Many times this leads to a passive recognition of the fact of being in Christ, and then we can't understand why we aren't bearing fruit!

Being in Christ is not the same as abiding in Christ. Being in Christ is a judicial position God has given us, and removing us from that position is not something God will do except in extreme situations (Re.3:5). But abiding in Christ is something we have to ensure moment by moment. The way to do that is by keeping God's commandments (Jn.15:10)! In other words, it is only as we walk in God's ways that we can remain close to Him and bear fruit.

Bearing fruit includes the fruit of the Spirit which we bear in our character and also bearing fruit in the ministry which He has entrusted to us. Let us look at the fruit of the Spirit for now. The fruit that is natural for us is what comes from our flesh (Ga.5:19-21). But in order for us to bear the fruit of the Spirit (vv.22,23), we need to be led by the Spirit and also to walk by the Spirit (vv.18,25). We need to also keep our flesh and its desires crucified (v.24). The psalmist also confirms that it is only those who forsake the way of sinners and think constantly with great delight about the law of the Lord who will bear fruit (Ps.1:1-3).

This is not a passive abiding but an active and deliberate devotion to walking with the Lord and doing His will. It will certainly imply giving up our natural tendencies that come up from our old life (flesh). We can know how to do this and be strengthened to do this as we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit every moment of our life.

This means that every part of our life has to be open to God for His deep and intensive scrutiny and also that our heart must be willing to receive correction and rebuke as also teaching and guidance. It goes without saying that when the Spirit convicts us of sin we must be quick to admit it and turn away from it instead of hiding from God or justifying ourselves.

Isn't it actually easier for us to be involved in Christian ministries even with great sacrifice or to pray long prayers than to allow the Spirit to lead us in the hidden parts of our heart where intentions and motives get scrutinised (He.4:12)? That explains why actual fruit is much lacking. But God's desire is that we should all bear much fruit and bring glory and honour to Him (Jn.15:8). Shall we not repent in our heart and turn to God rather than satisfy ourselves with the name and reputation that come with ministry? God gives grace to the humble (Jas.4:6). Shall we humble ourselves (v.10)?


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