Bible Reading: John 15
Jesus wants to produce His fruit (character) in and through our lives. How does He do that? When we are obedient to His commands.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Just how well do you know your fruits? Let’s see. Give the name of a fruit that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Remember, by botanical definition, a fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant. Vegetables are all other plant parts, such as roots, leaves and stems (But don’t get into an argument with a culinary expert about that…brother!). I’ll help you a little bit…
D Dog dumpling
H Horned melon
S Sugar Apple
U Ugli fruit (this has to be my favorite)
W Wood apple
So, of the ones that I mentioned, which is your favorite? What do you mean you’ve never eaten any of them? How many different kinds of fruit are there, any way? Well, I did some checking and found out that there are over 390,900 different species of plants in the world. Of those, over 2,000 produce fruit. Of those, about 200 produce fruit that can be eaten by humans. Just talking about all of those fruits makes me hungry! Think I’ll get a banana.
So, anyway, back at the ranch. Did you know that an apple tree can only produce an apple? Apple trees don’t produce blackberries, or dates, or pineapples, or kumquats, or strawberries, or papayas, or cucumbers, or limes…only apples. How inconsiderate! You would think that one fruit would be capable of producing another fruit…at least one other. But it’s not so. A fruit plant will only produce fruit of its own kind. Coconuts produce coconuts. Grapefruit produce grapefruit. Plums produce plums. So, what kind of tree does money grow on? Okay, that’s a subject for another day. The point here is that fruit plants only produce the fruit of that kind of plant…none other.
Jesus told His disciples that the Father is glorified when they bear much fruit. Do what? Bear much fruit. How can disciples bear fruit? Well, he was making a comparison. He gave them this picture. He said to imagine that He is a grape vine. His Father (God the Father) is the farmer who takes care of the vine. And the disciples are the branches of the vine. Now, the branches are supposed to bear the fruit. What kind of fruit? Well, what kind of vine is it? It’s a Jesus vine. So, they should produce Jesus fruit. Now listen closely. The vine produces the fruit on the branches and the branches bear the fruit. The branches don’t produce the fruit. The vine produces the fruit and the branches bear the fruit. That means that the fruit is attached to the vine. But the vine is what produces the fruit. Now, here is the question to consider. Why did Jesus tell the disciples that they were to bear much fruit? Answer: because it is possible for them to not bear much fruit. If a branch is unhealthy, if it is damaged…it will not bear much fruit. This is where you need to keep in mind that Jesus is comparing the disciples to the branches. Branches don’t have any say-so about their condition…but disciples do. Branches cannot determine their health…but disciples can. Jesus told the disciples that if they are going to bear much fruit…they must “abide” in Him. The word “abide” means to be strongly and permanently attached to Him. A branch that is broken…is not properly attached to the vine. And a disciple that does not “abide” in Jesus…is not properly attached to Him. Jesus then told the disciples that the way to “abide” in Him…was to keep His commandments. To obey His teachings. So, do you get it? Here is the idea. When we keep the commandments of Jesus it keeps us strongly and permanently attached to Him and then He can produce His fruit, Jesus fruit, through us. What kind of fruit is Jesus fruit? It is fruit that is like Jesus…like His love, like His joy, like His peace, like His patience, like His kindness, like His goodness, like His faithfulness, like His gentleness, like His self-control (see Galatians 5:22). That’s Jesus fruit. And that is the kind of fruit Jesus produces through you when you abide in Him. I have to tell you…Jesus fruit is my favorite kind of fruit.
This is an important key to being a follower of Jesus. You don’t try to produce Jesus fruit on your own. You don’t try to act like Jesus, or try to talk like Jesus. You “abide” in Jesus…develop and strengthen your relationship with Him by being obedient to His commands…and then He will produce His fruit in and through you. Jesus produces the fruit and you bear the fruit. Jesus will produce His character in and through you.
Being a farmer just got a lot easier. You don’t have to worry about next year’s crop because you’re not the one producing it. All you have to do is grow in your relationship with Jesus…and the crop will be assured. Jesus will produce His crop in you. And when that happens, there will never, ever be a crop failure.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,