John15:16 ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.’
Luke 6:43 NIV ‘No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.’
John 15:2 NIV
‘He 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.’
Succulent sweetness smothered my tastebuds as I had my first mouthwatering watermelon this year. Here in England fresh watermelon is harder to come by than in America, so it was with great enthusiasm that my group of church friends and I quickly tucked in to a platter of watermelon and grapes brought by a lovely sister. As it’s the season for planting for growers, it got me thinking about all the Bible verses about bearing fruit that the Holy Spirit highlighted when I first took reading my Bible seriously. As a young Christian, I declared to my mentor that I wanted to bear fruit. But what fruit was the Bible talking about?
At the time I thought it was ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’ (Galatians 5:22 and 23).
As I have become more rooted in the Lord by spending time with Jesus and reading his Word, I have come to realise there are also other kinds of fruit and just as in the physical realm you can’t force good fruit, you can’t force spiritual fruit either. Look at potatoes for example. If you grow them on well-cultivated and fertilised ground you will eventually get a great crop. I used to live in Jersey, which is famous for its potatoes because the farmers used to cover them in seaweed to encourage them to grow. Today the modern method of growing them is to cover them in plastic and you see glistening fields which look like lakes from afar, but in my opinion the potatoes don’t taste as good when they are forced in that way.
To have a great harvest of produce takes time and commitment. You have to prepare the soil, dig out the weeds, fertilise and water and plant your seeds at the right depth and distance for it to flourish. You can’t just leave the seed and hope it will grow without cultivating it and some plants need more care and attention than others. I should know; I have an allotment and must confess that I don’t always have enough hours in the day to give it my full attention.
Each prayer is a seed. Some will bear fruit quickly while others need more attention before your produce can be seen. And just as seeing your plants bear fruit gives you great joy, there is nothing more satisfying than watching a fellow believer grow in the Lord as you cultivate their friendship and water it with love and encouragement.
Your children are the fruit of your womb and you only have to look at the websites of the charities Save The Children or Barnado’s to see what can happen if you don’t look after youngsters properly.
I want to bear fruit and be like that juicy watermelon I tasted today. The question is, do you?