Producing good fruit – part 1 – How do we produce Fruit?

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

I am sure that over time you like me have heard of the term “fruit” in a Christian life. Well what is Christian fruit? How do we produce it? How do we maintain it? And how do we know if the fruit that we are producing is good or bad?

These are a few of the questions that have been rattling around in my mind lately and so I have been searching out scriptures that will help me to understand what it all means. I pray that as you take this journey with me through discovering what “Christian Fruit” really is that you will be encouraged and spurred on to allow God to help you produce even more fruit in your life.

The first place to begin this search I believe is in the book of John, in the 15th chapter Jesus is telling his disciples how to truly grow and develop good fruit as a Christian. Jesus is using the vine as a metaphor here to give us a great word picture of how to stay connected with him.

John 15: 1-17

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.

2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes£ so that it will be even more fruitful.

Jesus begins this chapter by telling his disciple that he is the vine, the true vine, why would he even bother to say that he is the true vine, well I believe it is because he knew that in the future, from the time of his death until present day that false prophets would come and try to convince people that there are other ways to heaven and spiritual fulfillment, here Jesus establishes once again his claim that he really is the only true way to heaven, and that only in him can all things grow and become fruitful.

He tells us that God is the gardener who lovingly takes the pruning shears and removes all that is dead from the vine, all that will stunt its growth. He removes the branches on the vine that do not produce any fruit, these are the people that might look all great and wonderful on the outside and yet their lives do not show that they have even a touch of Christ in them.

For those who are believers in his son Jesus Christ, He lifts them off of the ground, cleans the dirt and mud off of their lives and attaches them to the true vine. As they grow into this vine he needs to start the process of pruning them so that their branches do not get unruly.

This my friends is often our least favorite thing to have happen to us, and I have to admit that many times I dreaded the thought of God coming near me again to reveal what really was in my heart.

I knew how desperately wicked my heart was and I knew most of the time what lurked in there and I hated having to face up to what was bubbling in the cesspool attitudes, thoughts and soul.

But what I found was that God is a gentle pruner, he does not do it maliciously or spitefully to bring you shame and dishonor you, but when he does reveal (prune) something to you that is in your heart, it is because he wants you to learn to walk in freedom in that area of your life.

Like I said for a very long time I used to cringe at what I felt was surgery to my emotions, heart, attitude, mind, and actions, as I did not want it revealed.

The bible speaks a lot about sin being “darkness” and sin loves to hide in the dark and fester there, but God who is all light, will and does expose these dark places in order to set us free, from the death that sin will bring to our lives.

I can honestly say that after many years of God pruning a little here and a little there, I am not the same woman that I was when he first started the process. I am free from most of the things that God has exposed in me.

When I say most; it is because I still find myself sometimes clinging to the old things, even though I know that God has shown me a better way to live in Him.

I now look forward to the pruning so that I can get rid of things in my life that keep me from walking in complete freedom with Christ.

Jesus said that he came to set us free from sin and death, and all of the garbage and old way of life that we cling to is what needs to be pruned. It does not bring about any joy or happiness or peace into our lives, in fact it brings the opposite, depression, self loathing and many other things.

Jesus want to set us free from all of that, to help us to change our minds from the old way of thinking and seeing ourselves to a new way, his way, which brings life and freedom and growth and joy and peace and love and hope.

I don’t know about you, but I spent way to many years clinging to things that were worthless and brought me pain and shame. Over time, with much pruning God has restored me to believe him for who he says I am, for who he has made me to be, and I no longer see myself through the eyes of my sin, but I see myself through his eyes. The true vine.

How does a farmer grow a grape vine successfully, well this is what I found out;

When a farmer decides to cultivate a vineyard he needs to do a few things, firstly he has to have fertile, sloping, rocky ground that will allow for good growth and for the water to run off from the bottom of the vine. He does not want water to pool at the stem of the vine as it will create a breading ground for pests and rot.

When he plants that vine, he usually attaches it to a trellis, which is long as the plant grows very big. This is called, training the vine.

Training the vines to climb the trellis can be tricky. It is sometimes difficult to get the young vines pointed in the right direction. He has to move them often in the first season to get them going where he wants them to grow. Once he have worked with them, and gets them growing in the right direction, they are easier to maintain.

Now that he has the grape vine trained onto the trellis, he needs to begin pruning the plant, he does this because it diverts the energy from the roots and vines into the fruit. If he does not prune, he will have less fruit, and that fruit will be smaller in size. New vines grow from buds on last year’s vines. If left unchecked, the vines will become an unruly mess – which will be a big problem when he wants to harvest the grapes that he grew.

So the next time that God comes to you with those pruning shears, do not run away from him and not let him near your heart but allow him access, because as you read, it is for our good that He prunes us so that we will bring forth an abundant harvest of really good fruit.

If you feel the tug on your heart right now to let God in and remove some things that are hindering your walk with him I ask that you take a moment and say this simple pray with me, make a clean start today and allow God who loves you so much to continue the process of transforming you into the likeness of Christ and bring him Glory.

Dear heavenly father,

Thank you that you love me enough to have grafted me into your perfect vine, Jesus Christ, thank you that you want to prune all of the things out of my life that do not bring life to me, but death. Father forgive me for running away from your pruning in my life, I surrender my heart to you right now, I ask that you will forgive me of the sinful things that I cling to and set me free from the wrong thinking that I need to hide my sin from you. You only reveal it to me so that I can repent and deal with it, not to bring me hardship and pain. Father I thank you, help me to have an undivided heart for you today.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

To read the next part of this series please click on this link

Filed under: What is Christian Fruit?