September 15 – Bumper Crop

September 15 – Bumper Crop

John 15

“As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:4)

Why don’t you read John 15 (vv. 9,10,12,13,17) as we consider the fruit of the Spirit today? Did you discover lots of love-fruit? That’s appropriate, for love is at the head of Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit, too (Galatians 5:22,23) and Jesus tells us love is in first place. In fact, he said that the whole Bible depends on this fruit (Matthew 22:37-40).

Joy is found in this fruit passage, too (vs. 11). And there you find the “full” word again — he’s teaching us about fruit bearing for the specific purpose that our joy will fill to the brim.

Obedience is sort of a summary of Jesus-fruit. He speaks in many different ways of obeying His commandments — all of them! (Consider John 15:14). That points to all the fruit there could be. Jesus says we must allow His words to take up residence inside us (v. 7).

Don’t you get the image of a vine or tree so heavily loaded that the fruit is pervasive, not just visible evidence but the dominant characteristic? Everyone can tell! Except maybe the person himself… So much Jesus fruit that people will be drawn to Jesus, either to embrace him or to crucify him.

Paul gives a more complete list of Spirit produced fruit in Galatians 5:22,23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. If these characteristics are the product of the Spirit’s activity, they can’t be explained by the influence of a person’s early environment or present circumstances. That kind of love, joy, or peace, though desirable and beautiful, would be quite natural, not supernatural.

The Spirit wants to produce a bumper crop of Jesus’ characteristics. There’s one sure-fire way to know what your crop looks like. Do you have an accountability partner? Remember, Christlikeness is the one meaning of “full” only others know for sure. You need a fruit inspector! Here’s a plan you may want to follow. Show your partner, or someone you can trust to be honest about it, the list of possible fruit noted from Jesus’ description of fruit and Paul’s list and ask for an evaluation. Ask them to underscore any characteristic that is very evident and circle any they feel need cultivating.

You may not be able to know when you’re full of fruit, but you have a pretty good idea when the fruit is sparse, or lacking altogether, so add to your partner’s list your own list of fruit that’s in short supply. What are the attitudes or actions, responses you want to have more consistently, more often, more fully? Choose personal characteristics that don’t remind people of Jesus. In fact, they’re your own product, coming right out of your circumstances and temperament. Now ask the Holy Spirit to grow you in each of those qualities. If you keep on praying about those daily it won’t be long till people will exclaim, “She sure reminds me of Jesus!” or “Now there’s a real Christian!” What they mean is, “There’s a Spirit-filled Christian.” And even a blind man can see it!

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