Christian Life ...

Christian Life ...
Christian life is meant to be a life of bearing much fruit. What does that look like? How do we get there? This blog will record thoughts and meditations about living a life striving to be a fruitful branch.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Fruitful Branch does not Eat Its Fruit

See here in verse 2 that a branch that bears no fruit once is cut off and a branch that bears fruit is pruned. Now I do not claim to be an expert gardener, but from what I know about pruning there is a bit of snipping involved. Christ asserts to us that there is great importance in our fruitfulness. Verse 4 asserts this clearly: "neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me" and Verse 8 that it glorifies God the Father "that you bear much fruit". As long as we remain in Christ we will be fruitful, and our fruitfulness will glorify the Father. Great! ... but how do we do that? How do we remain in Christ?

To answer that question, verse 9 and 10 mention remaining in Jesus' love and keeping his commands. He tells us this so that our "joy may be complete" (vs 11). He then immediately tells us his command: To "love each other as I have loved you" (vs. 12). If we do this, we will be fruitful. We will "bear fruit - fruit that will last" (vs. 16). 

I suggest this: we ARE the branches and that Christ IS the vine. That is what Jesus said after all, but sometimes it seems that we the church expect to consume the fruit. We take our service to our churches, our work for our ministries, or our very prayer lives, as to be a means to bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness (... ect.)  into our lives. 

What Jesus is saying here is very different. He is not saying that fruitfulness will bring joy. He is saying that in our obedience to His commands (specifically in this passage: "love each other as I have loved you") His joy will be in us and our joy will be made complete. Once again, Jesus, the vine, is where our focus must be. Jesus must be the center of our hearts. Remaining in Him is were our joy comes from. And from that joy we are fruitful, fruitful with fruit that will endure. Fruit that will give God the Father glory. It's not for us! It is for the kingdom. To love as Christ loved is to be a fruitful branch, budding with fruit we may not even see until his Kingdom comes again. 

But also remember verse 2, that God the Father, the metaphoric gardener will prune the branches that bear fruit so that the vine remains fruitful. This I suggest refers to the role of the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures in leading our hearts closer to Christ. In obeying Christ's command to love others, we are not going out on a limb (pun completely intended). We have the assurance that Christ's joy will be in us making our joy complete, and we also have the Word of God and His spirit with in us to guide us.

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33b

So rejoice in Christ's love for us and in God's great faithfulness. Both of which we see that when Jesus showed in obedience to the Father's will as He endured the cross to pay for our sins. Love that comes from the father. Love that was there in the beginning and is here for us now. It will not let us go. It will provide for us. God will provide. So love as Christ loved. Obey that command, receive complete joy and be fruitful for God's Kingdom. Repent and obey, Love as Christ loved, receive the goodness and joy of being children of God, and realize that a fruitful branch does not eat its own fruit. 


  1. What a great encouragement for my morning!!

    I appreciate how you have referenced multiple verses in your blog that tell us to love Jesus is to obey his commands. I love this because it gives us specific action steps! I don't want to sit around talking about love, I want to demonstrate my love. I also love the connection between obedience and love. It reminds me not to make obedience the goal - it isn't about following a list of rules to become the perfect person. It is about loving God! Which I can do by living my life the way he designed me to. A tool doesn't work very well when it is used for something different than its creator intended it for. But when it is used to fulfill its purpose, wow! It does (we do) incredible things.

    I can think of one specific time that I obeyed despite every part of my flesh craving something else. (Maybe this is a sign of my disobedience, that I can only remember one time). I was so upset with God that he would ask me to do this thing when it was the absolute opposite of what I had asked for. I felt like my life as I knew it was over if I agreed to obey God. But in His grace, He didn't really leave me a way out, and so I obeyed. And I was astonished at the peace, love, joy, patience, etc. that came with obedience. I thought it was going to be miserable, and instead it was the greatest peace. I mean, it was still emotional, and hard (In this world, you will have troubles), but it was "nothing compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ, my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8).

    Unrelated note, but something I thought of when I was reading your thoughts that 'we were not meant to consume the fruit, but be the fruit' (I am excited to chew on this thought throughout the day! Pun intended) was the grammatical structure of that Galatians 5:22 verse. It says "the fruit of the Spirit IS" and then proceeds to list off the 9 characteristics (love, joy, peace....). This 'IS' suggests that really all of the 'fruits' of the Spirit are in fact one thing. That either we are abiding in Christ and being His fruit, or we are not. We cannot choose to enjoy/consume His joy today without His self-control or His patience. It is a package deal.

    1. Holy Cow, I love having replies to my blog posts. I wish everybody I know would share their thoughts like you do El.
      The Fruit of the Spirit are not something that we pick and choose. It is one fruit!
      ... crazy right? One fruit many facets :)