Abundant Fruit or Abandoned Fruit?!
The Nation of Israel was compared to a vineyard that was planted, nurtured, manure added, watered and cared for. Alas, it yielded wild grapes and that vineyard was abandoned by our Lord. On the other hand, the disciples of Lord Jesus Christ were expected to bring forth fruit in abundance.
Lord Jesus Christ claimed: Ï am the True Vine.” The disciples are called to remain in him so that they could bring forth much fruit. The intimate relationship with Lord Jesus Christ results in fruitfulness in the disciples. The disciples may not see Lord Jesus Christ, but the relationship is real that it nurtures and sustains. True followers of Lord Jesus Christ shall be known by their fruits. (Matthew 7:16-20) Peter wants Lord Jesus Christ disciples to be effective and productive.
Fruitful Christian life transcends all areas of life.
- Spiritual fruitfulness:
In the Parable of Sower, Lord spoke about the four places where the seed, the Word of God fell. The seeds that fell on road side or rocky ground or among thorns did not bring forth enduring fruit. Only the seeds that fell on the fertile ground brought forth one hundred, fifty and thirty fold harvest. A disciple is not termed as disciples by his/her profession/confession or any other claims. The only evidence of being a disciple is fruitfulness.
Spiritual fruitfulness is not being blind but a person of vision. Satan has blinded the minds of people. (II Corinthians 4:4) A disciple is not spiritually blind, but able to see the truth – Lord Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life. It is not living in darkness but walking in light. When Lord Jesus Christ began his ministry, the gospel writer Matthew states that those who were in spiritual darkness saw a great light. (Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 4:16) Lord Jesus is the light that lights everyone who trusts in him. (John 1:9) Spiritual fruitfulness is not being barren but fruitful. The result of spiritual fruitfulness is evident in other areas of life.
A disciple is also transformed that murmuring is replaced by worship. “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” (Hebrews 13:15) A believer knows that God is Sovereign and all things works for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28) Hence, there is no rooms for groaning or mourning or murmuring, only praises and worship.
- Mental fruitfulness
Remaining in Lord Jesus Christ results in the renewal of mind. (Romans 12:2) The paradigm of thinking is changed. The thought pattern is not based on cultural worldview or media promoted popular worldview but founded on the truth revealed in the Bible.
Even self-image of a person changes. The person does not allow the world, people, relatives, friends and even spouse to define who s/he is. The person defines self as God sees. For example, a person may be defined as an orphan or useless or disabled or less IQ…. However, the person knows that she has been created in the image of God, child of God as disciple of Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12) and citizens of the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 2:19, Philippians 3:20). This healthy and true self-image is the fruit of intimacy with Lord Jesus Christ and not of vain imagination or delusion.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8) A disciple’s thoughts of these eight categories Paul lists. Mind is filled with positive, good and holy thoughts. Instead of wicked, evil and vain thoughts, mind is filled with lofty thoughts that are pleasing to God.
Mental fruitfulness is in the attitude also. As Paul writes about a believer’s position: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1,2) A disciple’s attitude is set on things that are above – lofty, high, and valuable and not on worldly, mean and perishable things. The desires of such person is also not on earthly positions and possessions but on eternal realities.
- Emotional fruitfulness
Remaining in Lord Jesus Christ also results in emotional fruitfulness. Paul writes that a believer’s life is led by the Holy Spirit. When a disciple leads a life controlled, directed and inspired by the Holy Spirit, the result would be the Fruit of spirit in his/her life. Paul writes: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22,23) All the nine listed deals with emotions. There are negative emotions that could ruin a person and destroy families. The emotions listed are positive and brings satisfaction to a person and peace in the family and society.
- Community fruitfulness
John the Baptist preached repentance. He demanded from those who came to take baptism, to bring forth the Fruit of repentance. (Matthew 3:9) When a person repents, his/her words, deeds, attitude and behavior changes. The person is willing to be humble that asks forgiveness from others whom s/he had offended. A disciple is willing to be reconciled with those whom he had differences. True disciples do restitution as Zacchaeus did. (Luke 19:8) He was willing to give back four time, what he had taken unlawfully. Repentance, Reconciliation, Restitution and Restoration are community fruit brought forth by disciples of Lord Jesus Christ.
Speaking truth with one another (Ephesians 4:25) is another fruitfulness of a believer that impacts the community. When disciples come together as a church, there is love and trust. Christian community ought to be a community of truth as well as trust. The relationship of disciples is like that of a close-knit family as all are cleansed by the blood of Lord Jesus Christ.
- Social fruitfulness
Lord Jesus Christ ministry is described as doing good. (Acts 10:38) In the earthly ministry Lord Jesus Christ did good to all, including his adversaries. He put back the ear of Malchus, one of the soldiers who came to arrest him that was cut off by Peter. (John 18:10) Lord Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of those who tortured, taunted and executed him. (Luke 23:34) Following Lord’s example and model, Christian believers are expected to do ‘good’. Paul writes: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
- National fruitfulness
A nation cannot become powerful just because of military prowess or economic greatness. The Bible clearly states: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34) National righteousness is a missing element in many nations today. Unrighteousness, inequality and injustice flourishes in every nation. Sinful lifestyle is glorified and those who practice that are deified. What is right and true are rejected and what is wrong and evil are exalted. In this context, Christian disciples are called to be conscience keepers of nations as they are the salt of the earth and light of the world. (Matthew 5:13-16) When the disciples of Lord Jesus Christ are valuable, vocal and visible in a society, that nation will become great.
Lord Jesus Christ was looking for edible fruits in the fig tree as he was hungry. He found none. He cursed the tree as it was not useful for the people in need. (Mark 11:12-25) Israel as God chosen nation was rejected for yielding wild grapes. “For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.” (Romans 11:21) God is expecting abundant fruit from the disciples. Fruitlessness invites God’s wrath. Let us remain in Him the True Vine and bring forth abundant fruit. Choice is ours: Abundant Fruit or Abandoned Fruit?!