Jesus told us that the best way that sons can honor their Father is to
bear lots of fruit. In this week’s Scripture passage, we read how our
fruitfulness is directly related to bringing glory to our Heavenly
Father. There has been lots of focus in church life on being fruitful
over the years.
In the parable of the sower and the seed in
Matthew 13:1-9, Jesus tells us how the seed that falls on a good and
noble heart bears thirty, sixty or even one hundred times the seed that
was sown (verse 8). Jesus also speaks of fruitfulness in the parable of
the talents in Luke 19:11-27 where the master honors his servants who
double the money that he invested in them.
Even in the original
blessing that God spoke over Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:28), part of that
blessing was to ‘be fruitful and multiply’. There should be no question
in the heart of every believer that God delights when we bear much
fruit. Jesus even told us that by our fruit people will know us (Matthew
Over the years, when I have thought of the fruit that
brings glory to the Father, I have primarily focused on the fruit of my
labors. The things that I do to share the message of the gospel with
others. Of course the fruit of my labors would also include my personal
devotions & my prayer life. Unfortunately in my early Christian
life, these external measurements were the primary measuring stick that I
used when I have thought about the fruit that would bring glory to my
Don't get me wrong, I still believe that our own
personal expressions of God in us will produce tangible evidence of many
good things. After all, James 2:18 does say that our faith in God
should find expression in the things that we do. But here is a question
for you... What happens when you are not able to bear this kind of
‘ministry’ fruit in your life? What happens if circumstances prevent you
from doing ‘the stuff’ that we often associate with ministry
fruitfulness? Are you any less loved then? Of course not!
years ago, I felt the Lord speak to my heart from Psalm 46:10 which
simply says ‘Be still and know that I am God’. I felt the Lord say that
He wanted me to stop all my ministry activities and the things that I
so easily identified with fruitfulness, ...and be still for a while. I
quickly obeyed but to be honest, I thought this sabbatical would last
for a month or two then I would get back to being productive. But when
12, 14 and 16 months went on and I was still in this position of 'being
still', I began to see what God was trying to communicate with me.
see, the longer that my inactivity went on, the less valuable I felt I
was to God because I thought I wasn’t bearing the kind of fruit that
pleased Him. This blog is too short to share my story, but
nevertheless, it was during this time that the Father revealed to me
that He didn’t love me because I did anything to deserve it. He loved me
simply because I breathed.
It was at this time that I truly
received a deeper revelation of the fruit that brings glory to our
Heavenly Dad. While the signs and wonders are good too, there is a
deeper, more lasting sign of fruitfulness that my Papa wanted to work in
me. And that was the personal fruitfulness in my life that came from
living a life in His love.
In Galatians 5:22-23, the Apostle
Paul describes the true definition of the fruit that comes from the Holy
Spirit. The more traditional translation of this passage reads like
this... 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faith, or, faithfulness 23 gentleness, and
self-control. Against such things there is no law. (WEB)
days, I love to read the same Scripture passage from The Passion
Translation! In my opinion, this Bible version helps us to better
understand that the fruit of the Spirit actually is rooted in love and
finds many expressions of personal well being as a result.
what it says... The fruit of the Holy Spirit within you is divine love
in all its various expressions. This love is revealed through: Joy that
overflows, Peace that subdues, Patience that endures, Kindness on
display, A life full of virtue, Faith that prevails, Gentleness of
heart, and Strength of spirit. (TPT)
When I came to the place
where I felt that I had no fruit (works of service) to offer up to God,
the Lord pointed me to the fruit that He was after all along, and that
was the personal fruitfulness of how I lived my life. I realized that
when I lived in love myself, when I lived a joy-filled life myself, when
I was at peace in my heart and mind, when I lived a patient life, when
I was kind, when I was good to myself and others, when I lived a life
of faith, when I was gentle, when I could live a life of temperance...
All these things brought glory to my Dad!
Before this extended
time of sabbatical, I was still focusing on the ‘ministry stuff’ as the
evidence of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in my life. But after this
time of rest, I realized what my Father had been after all along in my
life... and that was simply my own personal fruitfulness that came from
abiding in His love.
When I came to grips that the ‘ministry
stuff’ was really 'the fruit of the fruit' in my life, it was really
helpful to realize that all my Father wanted to do was to walk with me
in the cool of the day just like He did with Adam. The more that I would
be able simply hang out with Him, the more that His character would be
reflected in me. The more that His character and nature were reflected
in me through Christ, the more I didn’t have to chase after signs and
wonders because they would follow me! (Mark 16:17)
struggle with an orphan mindset will see the fruit that God is looking
for as something that they have to labor to earn in the harvest field.
But a son who knows that He is loved no matter what he does, simply sees
that the greatest evidence of a fruitful life is living exactly as
Jesus continues to live... resting in His Father’s love.
prayer today is that we would all come into a deeper revelation of the
love of God for us personally that would set us free from the need to
perform or strive to justify our fruitfulness. May we all be able to see
more clearly that our Father’s love for us is not conditional on
anything we do to earn or deserve His affection. The good news of the
gospel is simply that He loves us because He is the complete expression
of love itself (1 John 4:16).
I pray that we will all know more
today than ever that the will of our Heavenly Father is that we would
remain in the love that He has for us. After all, the Gardener’s
greatest desire is that we would take up residence in His Son who is the
true vine and simply live the easy life of being a branch connected to
all that is good.
When we begin to shift our focus from our
works to the finished work of the cross, we will begin to see that our
primary function is to simply receive from the vine and bear much fruit
in the process. May the reality of the love of God cause each and
every one of us to bear much, much fruit today...thirty, sixty or even
one hundredfold more than we could ever hope for or imagine.
the while, living out of an overflowing cup (Psalm 23:5) of love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and