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What is Christian Fruitfulness?
Jesus told his disciples, "this is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" (John 15:8. NIV). As such, the Discipleship Ministry manual, explains that "the fruit of the Spirit is an expression of the work of the Person of Christ in our lives." Galatians 5: 22-23 list the fruit of the Spirit as:
- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Jerry Bridges in his book, The Fruitful Life: The Overflow of God's Love, reinforces this point when he explains that we cannot manufacture the godly qualities for they are the work of God alone. He further explains that "the traits are the fruit of the Spirit, the result of His work in us ... we fulfill our responsibility under his direction and by his enablement" (pp. 12-13).
Christian fruitfulness is an expression of the Christ life in believers, which radiates from us. That is why, Jesus in his discourse in one of the Gospels instructed his disciples to "remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me" (John 15:4. NLT).
Christian fruitfulness can be compared to cultivating crops. Just as crops need the right soil to bear fruit, so the Word of God needs a sensitive and responsive heart. Just like the young plant, uses only what it receives to produce fruits, so the Christian is dependent on Jesus enabling power and not human effort to be fruitful.
Poll: Christian Fruitfulness
Bible Quotes on Fruitfulness
- But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!"(Galatians 5: 22 -23, NLT).
- We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better (Colossians 1: 9b - 10, NLT).
- Remain in me, as I also 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 you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15: 4-5, NIV).
- You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last--and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you (John 15:16, NIV).
- Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12: 24, ESV).
- I said, 'Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you' (Hosea 10:12. NLT).
The Way to Christian Fruitfulness
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
— John 15:5, NIV
Steps to Christian Fruitfulness
Christian fruitfulness expresses the fruit of the Spirit, " love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5: 22-23, NLT). Here are five steps to consider in cultivating fruitfulness.
- Receive the Christ-life by faith. Through our fruitfulness, we demonstrate our new identity. We received this new identity through our union in with Christ when we are born again.
- Draw from the source. Jesus told his disciples that they could not be fruitful unless they remained in him (John 15: 5). This means that we are channels through which the life of Christ flows resulting in fruitfulness.
- Ask for God's wisdom. Since we cannot be fruitful by our own effort, we need to ask God for spiritual wisdom and understanding to keep in step with what the Holy Spirit is doing in our life. Only through his wisdom can we live in a way that honors and pleases him and "produce every good kind of fruit" (Colossians 1: 8-10, NLT).
- Cultivate an attitude of humility. We must walk humbly, not depending on our own resources but totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. Like the kernel of wheat that must fall to the ground in order to bear fruit (John 12:24), we need to die to self to allow the live of Christ to rise up and live through us.
- Rest in the Jesus Christ, the Vine. Bas Rijksen in the video above explains, "Our only responsibility is to rest on his ability." This means totally trusting in Jesus and allowing his life to flow through us.
Moving Forward in Fruitfulness
Fruitfulness is a direct result of the life of Christ flowing through us. It is not about trying harder out of great effort to produce fruit. Such effort is doomed to fail, but even more, self-effort is unacceptable to God.
God requires believers who connected to his Son, Jesus Christ, through his atoning work on the cross for our sins. Only Jesus' work is truly acceptable to God, and so only a life of Jesus Christ lives that through is acceptable to his Father.
Jesus lived in union with his Father, and said, "I can do nothing on my own" (John 5:30, NLT). In the same way, through Christ Jesus, we need to live totally dependent on God. The result is truly fruitful Christians.
Again, Jerry Bridges in his book, The Fruitful Life: The Overflow of God's Love reminds us that "the power and enablement of a godly life comes from the risen Christ."