Yesterday, I was captivated by the theme of fruitfulness that Moses writes in Genesis and reiterates in the first chapter of Exodus:
Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.Exodus 1:6-7
Connecting the Dots
But as I woke this morning, I realized I hadn’t finished connecting the dots. We are also called to be fruitful and to multiply. Yes, that phrase has a double meaning – right? Sure, procreation was significant in the birth of the nation of Israel. We must also be fruitful and multiply in the church … a spiritual application.
It starts with Jesus, who called His disciples, saying He would make them fishers of men. Then, in His great commission, He tells us that we should make disciples, baptizing and teaching as we go about our daily routines. Disciple-making is one evidence of fruitfulness in our lives.
The Apostle Paul writes, “You also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God” Romans 7:4. He also prayed for the church at Colossae, “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” Colossians 1:9b-10.
John captures Jesus’ words about abiding in the vine, reminding us that the Spirit of God prunes us so that we can be more fruitful. And our fruitfulness is a direct result of remaining attached, abiding in, and receiving sustenance from Jesus, the True Vine!
Our producing fruit
Sometimes it feels like producing the fruit of righteousness, the fruit of the Spirit, or the fruit of disciples is elusive. There’s a quote that goes around social media at times. It says, “The last thing to grow on a fruit tree is fruit.” I’ve been thinking about that quote. The fruit tree, if healthy, will produce fruit. It can’t help it. It will happen. I suspect the fruit tree doesn’t worry too much about producing the fruit. Instead, the tree concentrates on absorbing water, minerals, and sunlight. Trees that live in forests are part of a complex system of community and diversity that support their growth. And, of course, fruit trees in orchards depend on humans to nurture, prune, and harvest the fruit.
So, how does that apply to us as fruit-bearing Christians? We can’t force fruit to grow any more than the trees. Our lives produce fruit when we walk in step with the Spirit of God. He’s the fruit-bearing presence in our lives.
Father, You who spoke fruit trees into existence
And planted the seeds of spiritual
Fruit in our souls, Teach us to walk in step
With you so that as You nourish us with living
Water and Bread, our lives will bear fruit for you.