To Bear More Fruit You Must be Pruned.
If the lines above sound familiar, they should. Jesus said them. Well maybe he didn’t say them exactly like that, but here is what he said, “Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24). He also said that “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2). These statements are easily said, but hard to actualize. This topic has been mentioned before in our posts, but in light of our culture it needs to continually be weighed and considered. How many of us who profess Jesus as Lord are desiring to bear fruit. If we were in a room and someone called for hands raised if you want to bear fruit, with a little pressure from the hands going up around us, our hand would probably go up as well. It wouldn’t take much of a pep talk for us to realize that we are called to bear much fruit. There is a lot about this in the Bible; “You will know them by their fruit” (Matt. 7:20). The parable of the talents is another example of bearing fruit (Matt. 25:14-30). Jesus mentioned the need for us to gather the harvest (Luke 10:2), and many more scriptures could be listed. The hard part for us is not knowing we need to bear fruit, the hard part is actually doing it. That’s because bearing fruit comes with sacrifice.
The romance of bearing fruit is a vision we can almost all get behind. The reality of its messiness, self-sacrifice and true humility to see it fulfilled through our lives is the true barrier. The question we need to ask ourselves is not how much we need to sacrifice to bear fruit, the question is how worthy is Jesus of fruit that sacrifice does not stand in the way. This does not leave us weighing our desires versus his glory, rather it has us first and foremost considering his glory and giving a pre-emptive yes to whatever he calls us to. Now does it mean that sacrifice will not be hard? Well, I don’t know about you, but I still have a flesh that is battling as the Apostle Paul talked about in Romans, and that flesh really doesn’t want to bear fruit. But in light of God’s kindness, his mercy, his grace, and the sacrifice of Jesus who did not deserve any form of punishment, the weight of sacrifice becomes less. Jesus also makes us a really good, but really hard promise. And that promise is to prune us so as to take the fruit that is born in our lives and bear more fruit. But once again, let’s be honest, the pruning shears are not fun. Especially when we can look and say there are already good things around us. This is sometimes the hardest part. Are we willing to see those things cut off for even greater things?
So my question for each of us is; in light of God’s mercy, grace and glory, have you died? Now stop and really considered this. Is your life your own, or are you truly living as one who’s primary desire is the glory of God? Are you truly seeking first his kingdom or are you living into less than what God would desire of you right now? Are you bearing fruit? And for those that are, are you willing to be pruned so as to bear more fruit? If you’re wondering what this can look like in your life, we’d love to help, but let me tell you up front, the flesh won’t like it, but the Spirit will. If you’re curious, we would love to walk with you, teaching you how to be a disciple who bears much fruit and makes disciples. It’d be an honor to have a conversation with you, so please reach out!