As I mentioned in my last post, it takes a mature tree to produce fruit. Likewise, it takes maturity on our part to produce abundant spiritual fruit for the Lord. Spiritual Fruit is God's desire for us. In John 15:16 we read, " Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit." This statement follows a statement in verse 8 that says, " Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." In verse 2 He says, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
In my last post we saw the importance of water in growing a tree to maturity. Likewise, God's Word is vital to our spiritual maturity. God's Word also reveals another important truth about bearing fruit. As my wife and I researched how to get an abundant crop of plums from our plum trees; we read of the importance of pruning. The process of pruning is the removal of diseased, damaged, and non-productive branches. As these branches are removed it allows nutrients to be diverted to other branches that are more able to support and produce bountiful fruit. The spiritual lesson we can glean from this horticultural lesson is that there are sucker branches in our lives which begin to suck nutrients from branches that are primed to produce fruit. The result is there is not as much fruit produced as was intended. This happens when we allow into our lives things that, in view of eternity, are insignificant. They take up our attention and energy and leave us weakened to where we cannot bear much fruit. I recall a time in my life when my energy was focused on sports. My mother tried to get me to play the piano. She saw the value of using that talent to draw people to God in worship. But if you could not hit it, throw it, or catch it; it did not get my attention. So, the sucker branch of sports won. What are your sucker branches that rob you of spiritual fruit? What consumes your time and energy? Do you spend more time on social media than in God's Word? There are so many sucker branches that crop up in our lives, and rob us of bearing much fruit. We must cut those branches out of our lives. We must not be tree huggers clinging tightly to those branches.
Scripture tells us to examine ourselves and deal with those things which hinder our relationship with God. We also see in Scripture if we do not examine ourselves that He loves us so much He will allow and even send into our lives trials to draw us unto Himself. The theme of the book of James sets forth that a mature faith produces fruit. The book begins by addressing something that is common to all of us - trials. In James 1:2 we are told to count it all joy when we fall into temptations (trials). Verses 3 & 4 tell us why we should consider trials with joy. Trials are God's pruning shears to produce more fruit in our lives so we might be perfect (mature) and entire, wanting (lacking) nothing in our lives.
God has chosen you to bring forth much fruit that He might be glorified. So cut out what keeps you from glorifying Him. Welcome the pruning shears of trials. Lets bear much fruit so when we stand before Him we are perfect and entire, lacking nothing.