Posts Tagged ‘fruit’

“And it shall be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide.” Deuteronomy 26:1-2

Dust Collecting

Several years ago while attending my first Creation Festival I found myself walking by the Gospel For Asia ministry booth where they were handing out a free book called, Revolution in World Missions.” I took it (because it was free), brought it home, and placed it on a shelf where it sat, unopened, for five years.

Shame on me.

When I finally read the book the Lord opened my eyes and I was sorry that I had let the power of this book sit on a shelf, unused, for so very long. The Lord had given me a gift, and I received it, but I failed to use it. I share the story because I sense that far too many Christians receive gifts from God and allow them to collect dust.

The issue is subtlety addressed in the passage from Deuteronomy 26, in that we receive God’s inheritance (we possess it; we dwell in it), then we give (not hoard) the first-fruits as an offering back to God. But where do those fruits come from? If you said they’re from God, you’re correct, but they’re produced when we exercise and utilize the gifts of God. If we accept His gift, but do nothing with it, there is no fruit to be had.

Do not neglect the gift that is in you (1 Timothy 4:14a)

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them (Romans 12:6a)

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  (1 Peter 4:10)

God and Fruit

We know that God does not need anything from us; He already owns it all. So why all the fruit? I believe God does not want the fruit for Himself, but for us. As we obtain the blessing from God, utilize it, and endeavor to give a small portion of the yield back to Him, the result is a bountiful harvest that goes full circle bringing honor, glory, and praise to the Provider of it all!

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:8

Rotten Fruit

Funny thing about fruit; it doesn’t store very well. When we hoard it, or when we ignore it, it tends to rot. In contrast, when we use it, it tends to grow back in abundance. Ask my wife — she maintains the rose bushes around the yard. If you want a lot of flowers, pick off the buds before they bloom. The result is generally a yield three times greater than the original growth. God did that; the same design He worked into roses He worked into us.

Want More Fruit?

Give it away whenever the Lord moves in your heart to do so; or least make it accessible to anyone who desires to partake. We need not worry; our Father is faithful to replenish the harvest!  He has done it before, He is doing it today, and He will do it tomorrow.

Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3)

The Psalmist reminds us that we’re not much more than a conduit for God’s gracious blessings to pass through. Tap into this marvelous deluge and it percolates up through the timber, transforming vital liquid into succulent fare.  All we need do is to position ourselves, or more precisely, allow ourselves to be divinely positioned in close proximity to this river of Living Water in order to receive the gift(s).

A Final Thought

If it seems that His blessings have abated and the fruit has dwindled, there stands the likelihood that we have moved to withdraw our roots from this incessant torrent. Know with certainty that the riverbed of the Lord never dries up. If your faith is dry it is because you have wandered away from the water source.

“But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)

  1. What do the verses say about God?
  2. What do they say about us?
  3. What should be our response?

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Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. Galatians 6:7-8

It’s A Fact

We will reap what we sow.

It doesn’t matter if we are saved or unsaved, if we sow the seeds of our flesh, we will harvest corruption. The fruit of those occurrences will always be made manifest.

Manifest How?

I am not proud of it, but I have seen X-rated movies and more than a few adult magazines in my life. The good news is that I have been forgiven for all that illicit activity. Nevertheless, those seeds were still planted. So guess what types of images pop-up into my mind occasionally. You guessed it.

Here’s the reality: those images appear because I planted the seeds that gave them life in my brain.

Plant Better Seeds

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9

It’s been years since those aforementioned sins of mine and I am pleased to announce that although the images are not completely vanished, their appearances are fewer and farther apart. Why? Because I have been consistently sowing new seeds; seeds of faith and seeds of the Spirit, and the good fruit is crowding-out the bad fruit. Slowly but surely, my Spirit crop is overtaking my fleshly one.

Praise Be to God

Be patient. If you are sowing good seed, the yield will be evident in due season and according to God’s perfect timing. In the meantime, do not be deceived, you will reap what you sow.  God will never be mocked,.

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He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

A while ago I stumbled upon a phrase that read, “Our effectiveness in ministry is relative to our closeness to Jesus, ” and I thought at the time, what a wonderful and true sentiment it was. After all, any effective ministry is borne out of our deepening relationship with Christ Jesus.

Then I came upon John 15:5.

I envisioned myself sawing a limb off an apple tree.  In its detached state I thought, should I have any expectation of fruit ever growing from that limb again?

Of course not.

Might I expect a harvest if I take that same branch and hold it close to the tree, or better yet, prop it up against the trunk?


Once there is a disconnect, fruitful expectations are lost. In order for fruit to develop, the branch must be attached or grafted back in — closeness does not count. John 15:5 drives home the truth that my catchy little phrase misses the mark. Closeness is not the same as being attached.


Is this just a case of semantics, since those in Christ likely consider themselves to be relationally close to Him as well?

Yes, in that case it is a matter of semantics, however the danger exists for those who are not so attached. They have come to falsely believe that an appearance of closeness is sufficient. Perhaps they attend church regularly and participate in religious activities, but there is no connection to the Vine. The fact remains: proximity is a worthless posture to the pruned limb.

Show Me the Fruit

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

We all know folks (or we might be folks) who claim closeness to Jesus.  Despite declarations of faith and love, at the end of the day, barrenness is the evidence bearing witness against those claims. But praise be to God, all is not lost!

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:1-2

Are you frightened by the notion that God takes away the fruitless branches?

Don’t be.

That’s not what’s being said in this passage.

According to Strong’s Concordance, the word ‘away’ (as in taken away) is ‘airo’ in the Greek language and is properly defined, ‘to raise up, to elevate, or to raise from the ground.’

The reality is that in our fallen, fruitless condition, God the Father desires to lift us up, graft us in, and nurture us so that we might bear fruit. The warning is for those who are not submitted to this work of the Vinedresser.  They are the ones who risk being cast away.

If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:6-8

In light of the truth we can say that effectiveness in ministry is relative to our closeness and connection to Jesus.

Your Thoughts:

  1. Are you connected?
  2. Are you submitted?
  3. Is there fruit in your walk with Jesus?
  4. If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

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“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. John 15:1-6

Bear Fruit or Die?

Please, please, please take note. John 15:2, ‘Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away,’ does not mean that if a Christian isn’t bearing fruit, God lops off that branch and casts it into the fire. A more accurate definition of the Greek word used here in this verse (airo) means to lift or raise up–the phrase ‘take away’ is an erroneous translation. That’s important, because ours is a loving God, a God of second chances and beyond. The reality is this: if you are a Christian and you are not producing fruit, God the Vinedresser, will lift you up and do whatever it takes for you to be fruitful. Consider this parable found in Luke 13:

He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ” Luke 13:6-9

This is how a loving Father treats His children. The fact of the matter is this: if a person who claims to be a Christian is not producing fruit after all is done to promote growth, then that person was not a part of the Vine to begin with. In other words, this person is not abiding in Christ. It’s this unattached branch that gets tossed into the fire.

Fear Not

Are you fruitless? Be certain first that you are abiding in the Vine that is Jesus Christ and then know that the Father will make every effort to lift you up, nourish you, and prune you back so that you will come to fruition. Do not struggle against the Lord’s efforts and you will bear fruit. You might be unfruitful, but God does not want you to remain that way.

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Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient–in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God… Romans 16:17-19a

Have You Been Confirmed?

I am not talking about those confirmation classes your mom made you take when you were back in Sunday school, but God’s direct confirmation of your ministry. Just to be clear, every single Christian has a ministry, so I suppose the question I am really asking is if you are in the right one. How do we find out? The Apostle Paul gives us the first clue when he fearlessly pronounces that the work he does is not his, but God’s. As a result, the signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit follow him.

And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. Mark 16:17-18

Are You Being Followed?

If God’s signs and wonders are not following you, it may be an indication that you are pursuing God’s miracles rather than God. The truth be told, those guys who play with rattlesnakes or speak in unknown tongues merely to prove God is with them, eventually get bitten. Ultimately what is proven is that they’re unendorsed [by the Father] in their fleshly ministry. Paul demonstrates that as we move in submissive obedience to God’s plan, His signs and wonders, miraculous or otherwise, will follow us in due season.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me Acts 1:8a

How do we know when we see the true power of the Holy Spirit being displayed? The verse from Acts makes it incredibly easy to determine: is the supposed sign and wonder pointing to the Christian or to Christ? If it’s not pointing to Jesus, then what you’re witnessing is a work of a person’s flesh. That alone does not necessarily signify that person is not a born again believer, but rather he or she is being guided by something else other that the Holy Spirit.

Where’s the Fruit?

Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds. Numbers 17:8

Fruit is often a seasonal thing, so lack of it may not be a sign you’re in the wrong ministry—you just might have to wait for it to come into season. The story of Aaron’s rod is a wonderful illustration of the principle. However, if there never was any fruit and the seasons have come and past, the likelihood exists that you’re out of position–you might be on the right farm, but you’re standing beneath the wrong tree.

Now What

Have you been ignoring one mission field because you were off in the wrong one? If so don’t be alarmed, depressed or discouraged—it happens to many and it has happened to me. The good news is that floundering in a mistaken ministry is easy to remedy—simply stop what you’re doing. Then ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal His plan. Chances are your ministry is right under your nose; perhaps your family or children. Humble yourself and ask Him where to take up the path again.

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