John 15:5 New International Version (NIV)
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” With these words, Jesus claims us as His.
In recent years, it has become popular to explore one’s ancestry so as to fill in the blanks on the “family tree.” We all want to know where we came from and who we are related to. Who knows, we might even find someone famous in our family history.
Several years ago, at a reunion for my paternal grandmother’s family, we created a visual family tree. We hung large sheets of paper on the wall and the “tree” began with the names of my grandmother’s parents at the top. Each generation from that point forward was documented with names, marriages, births and deaths. It has been updated at each reunion since then as a record of who we are and where we came from. We, as a family, are connected in the same manner as branches on a tree.
In the first chapter of the book of Matthew, we find a documentation of the genealogy of Jesus going back to Abraham in the Old Testament. If we were to draw a family tree of all the generations moving forward from that list, we would find our own names on a branch of that tree.
Jesus claims us as His children, but there is a second part to His statement. We are to bear fruit as a result of our connection to Him.
“…You will bear much fruit…”
How do branches grow and produce fruit? I am not a gardener nor do I really know much about growing and planting. But it does make sense that in order for a branch to receive nourishment from the trunk of the tree, it has to be connected. A branch that is not part of the tree is not going to be fed and as such, is not going to bear fruit.
To better understand what Jesus is saying, Christian author and blogger, Kelly Balaire shares her thoughts about how growing actual fruit compares to bearing spiritual fruit:
Tips to Growing Good Fruit:
1. Place them in direct sun.
Get in the light of God’s word. Let it grow you.
2. Make sure they have shelter from high winds.
Dwell in safe places: Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 (NIV)
3. Add compost or manure to the soil.
Pray that your heart is open to change and you’ll have the courage to endure as he does.
4. Give them support, netting or canes.
Lean up against God: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
5. Cut off the top of the plants.
Let God shape you, even when it hurts: “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John. 15:2 (NIV)
Bearing fruit takes time. Fruit does not grow overnight, and thus it may take years for us to see the seeds we have sown grow into full ripeness.
But that does not mean God is not working through us or that we should give up. Jesus assures us whoever abides in Him will bear much fruit.
Is your connection to God leading you to bear fruit? If not, what need to change?