I could stand in front of the mirror with arms outstretched, elbows and wrists and all joints bent at fractal-like angles to simulate tree branches, but no mangoes or oranges or bananas hang from my arms. A branch abiding in Christ WILL bear fruit, he said, but this is not the kind of fruit I can slice and artistically arrange on a platter. It’s not fruit I can sink my teeth into or cut up and serve to my children at breakfast.
So, I wonder and I question: Am I fruitful?
A good tree is supposed to bear good fruit. Am I really doing any good during my life on earth? Am I bearing any fruit at all? Then the questions turn into an odd, whining prayer:
… ’cause if You’re going to leave me down here, Lord, then you might as well make me fruitful. And if I’m not doing any good here, Lord, then You might as well take me Home (yadda yadda whaa whaa).
It was time for Bible study with my son, so I printed out Matthew 7 and marked it up, as is my habit. Jesus was talking about fruit again:
“So then, you will know them by their fruits.”
… and the old questions came nagging back. Am I fruitful? What is the fruit in my life? Am I of any use at all? When my eyes are off Jesus, confusion creeps in, and the meaning of fruitfulness eludes, evades, and becomes vague to my mind that wants all the answers in advance and in detail. What is this fruitfulness? Sure, I can sweep through the Scriptures and figure out something about hundred-fold harvests and love and patience and self-control, but I know that after that study, I will wonder again.
Lord, am I being fruitful for You?
And then, in the very next verse …
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
He who does the will of My Father, Jesus said. You will know them by their fruits. Obedience.
Obedience, all by itself, without regard to any result or consequence, IS fruit. To do God’s will is to ensure fruitfulness. No need to question. No need to wonder.
It would make a great tagline, wouldn’t it?
Obedience. It’s fruitfulness—GUARANTEED.
Father, I do desire to bear fruit for You, and I often don’t know what that looks like in my life. So I thank You for Jesus’ words which give me solid assurance that, at least in obedience, I know I am fruitful. Help me walk by the Holy Spirit, abiding in You and bearing much fruit.