“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:5-8
Short commentary on bearing fruit
We must be fruitful. From a vine we look for grapes, and from a Christian we look for Christian temper, disposition and life. We must honor God, and do good; this is bearing fruit. The unfruitful are taken away. And even fruitful branches need pruning; for the best have notions, passions, and humors, that require to be taken away, which Christ has promised to forward the sanctification of believers, they will be thankful, for them. The word of Christ is spoken to all believers; and there is a cleansing virtue in that word, as it works grace, and works out corruption. And the more fruit we bring forth, the more we abound in what is good, the more our Lord is glorified.
In order to fruitfulness, we must abide in Christ, must have union with Him by faith. It is the great concern of all Christ’s disciples, constantly to keep up dependence upon Christ, and communion with Him.
Bearing good fruit
Depending on the season and timing of plantation, it is very possible for a tree to bear bad fruit. If the seed is not properly nurtured then one can expect a poor yield. These are the trees that bear the bad fruit and are immediately cut down. That essentially is what happens to those who do not remain in Christ. That is the key thing here. Now when we talk about the how part of bearing fruit, this is what I have come up with:
1) Faith grows through prayer.
Matt 17:20 talks about how faith is as small as a mustard seed. A mustard seed is an extremely tiny seed, observe:
He said that you will be able to move mountains. In a sense it just requires a lot of input into a small amount of faith. People confuse input with amount. They think that all you need to do is have a little faith (which is good) and put just as little faith in what needs to be done, that is, have a very weak belief. That is not what Jesus meant. In a way the amount of faith has to do with effort. The size deals with presence and the amount deals with effort. Meaning that you are to have faith. You have to believe in God otherwise you cannot please Him and He, therefore, cannot reward you (Heb 11:6). The question then lies, how much faith? Obviously it starts off small but it ought not stay there!
We should then pray and ask the Lord to help increase our faith by decreasing our unbelief:
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8
The strengthening of the faith comes in the persistence in prayer. This implies that those who do not pray often do not have as strong a faith. That is natural because the more time you spend with God the more stronger your faith in Him.
2) Faith bears fruit through good deeds.
Let’s take a look at James 2:14-20:
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God (Deut 6:4). Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
James asks, “How can you show your faith if you don’t have good deeds?” I like to believe there are some people who think that it is possible to do good deeds without faith. That too cannot be true since you would have to believe there is good in what you are doing.
Why are you talking about faith, I thought this was about bearing fruit?
It’s actually very simple, the two go together. I emphasized prayer first because that is what helps your faith grow. In the same way that a seed needs to be well nurtured and taken care of, and planted in the right season, so your faith is to be nurtured during prayer. I then emphasized doing good deeds because that is what bearing fruit is. You need strong faith to bear good fruit . Why? It is not always easy to keep letting your roots grow deeper underground during those seasons that are rough and harsh. Those testing and trying times that make it easy to lose faith, or even pointless to have it! After all why love your enemies? Why pray for those who persecute us? A second mile is too much to bear after being taken through the first. This is why you need to do these things because your roots can grow deeper and deeper underground, the more you trust God at all times.
Why is faith likened to a seed? Seeds take time to grow. The deeper the roots, the longer it will take the plant to sprout. However after it is has bloomed, it stands tall and strong! The roots would be so long and so deep that the tree literally cannot be moved! I love to believe that the deeper the roots the more they spread so that the ground is covered in its depth and width. That process takes so much time.
3) Identify the false by their fruit
Matt 7:15-20 says:
“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions
These guys will be deceptive, appearing to think the best of you, try to fit in by giving you the impression that they are of the same good intentions as you, only to lure you into a trap they have prepared, though they cannot hide their heart’s desires. You will truly know them by their actions! It won’t matter how many times they say, “Praise the Lord” and “Thank you Jesus!”
4) Bear the fruits of the Spirit
Gal 5:22-23 says it all:
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
If we are to remain in the Lord then we have to both pray and bear the fruits of the Spirit. The fourth fruit is what I’m working on right now and seem to be doing alright but still have a long way to go! In this season and in the ones to come, at the end of the day, it is all about remaining in Him, so the roots of our faith grow deep, our tree stands tall and strong, so that we may bear good fruit!