Last week’s devotion set up God’s desire for fruitfulness in each Christian’s life. Fruitfulness not only begins and ends with having an intimate relationship with Christ, but it is encapsulated in love and obedience. Wisdom is knowledge in action - “is proved right by her actions.” Fruit results when you respond to God in obedience. There are nine reasons God desires fruitfulness in a Christian’s life. We will cover the first three in today’s devotion and the remaining six in the following two weeks.
1. God desires fruitfulness in order to constantly point you back to Him. Fruitfulness acts as a barometer to the depth of your relationship with Christ. Everything in your Christian life will flow out of the intimacy of your relationship with Christ. In Hebrews 6:7 you see an agrarian analogy that shows how the constant watering of crops produces a fruitful crop, “Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.”(NIV) Jesus wants relationship with you more than anything else. Go deep and wide in your relationship with Christ, while responding to God’s promptings, and fruitfulness will take care of itself.
2. God wants you to grow as a follower of Christ, so that you can know Him better. Ephesians 1:17-18 shows how increasing measures of wisdom and revelation take you to greater levels of obedience and relationship, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” (NIV)
3. God desires fruitfulness for your protection. You have heard the saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground,” but a lack of fruitfulness is also the devil’s playground. Matthew 12:43-45 illustrates this, "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.” (NIV) Being fruitful in Christ is powerful because it allows you to experience the living Christ. If Christ is knowledge, ritual, and duties, you not only miss the powerful experience of God, but you also become fertile ground for sin. Dwell with God . . . hear God . . . respond to God.
Colossians 1:6-7 “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.” (NIV)
For your convenience I am attaching the first devotion of this 4 part devotion.
Part 1 of “Bearing Fruit”
Last week’s devotion gave five important truths in becoming more effective for Christ. For the next four weeks, we will explore the reasons God wants us to be effective for Him in fruitfulness. It is not enough to say you are a Christian and that you love God; ultimately the sincerity of your heart is revealed by the fruit that God is able to bear in your life. John wrote in 1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (NIV) Jesus had three definitions for a disciple:
· A disciple is one who loves, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35 (NIV)
· A disciple is one who obeys, "If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31b-32 (NIV)
· A disciple is one who bears much fruit, “This is to My Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” John 15:8 (NIV)
All three definitions of a disciple depend upon the intimacy of your relationship with Christ. In John 15:4 Jesus taught that fruit can only be born out of a deepening relationship with Him, “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” (NIV) Out of the intimacy of your relationship with Christ you begin to take on the single characteristic that best represents Christ – love! As the depth of your relationship with Christ grows, love becomes a consuming force that overwhelmingly dominates your motivations. Out of this ever-expanding love you take on the second trait of a disciple – to obey. Love will put you in situations and opportunities where you will want to obey because you love your Lord; that love requires involvement, response, follow-through, or some other type of action. This is best typified in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:27-35). The good Samaritan could not walk by the man in need; he was moved by love to act by taking care of that man. It was not enough for the two religious men who passed him by to say they loved him, to tell him they would pray for him, and would ask special prayers for him when they got to church. Intimacy with Christ bears love (John 13:34-35), love produces obedience (John 8:31b-32), and the result of obedience is fruitfulness (John 15:8). Next week we will discover three of the nine reasons God desires for Christians to be fruitful.