I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15: 5
Over the past few months, God has taught me the importance of fruitfulness. I asked a friend a couple of months ago what it means to be fruitful. She answered “To encompass the fruit of the spirit” (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – Galatians 5:22-23). It seemed simple enough – but how are we able to measure our fruit? How do we know if we are being fruitful? We don’t – I don’t, but I trust that the Lord is working – simply because He is good & sovereign.
This summer I have the opportunity of working with an amazing staff team. Many of them, were juniors when I was a juniors counsellor, and so for the most part a relationship is already established, a foundation of trust already built. But more than their ability to lead, more than their behaviour management skills and even their willingness and initiative, the thing that has inspired and encouraged me the most is their character and their heart for Christ. I stand outside the doors of their classrooms, to hear the gospel being proclaimed and shared daily. I hear of them checking on their friends and asking them how they can be prayed for. I see them talking about how they are willing to sacrifice their time in order for another to be able to lead devotions with non-believers. I hear them talking about God’s character when they try to resolve disputes among their campers. I see the effort and forethought that is put into one night of fellowship because they know that ONE non-believer is going to be in the audience. I feel the amount of care and love that they have for one another and how they want to build up one another in Christ. I hear their prayers – simple and genuine, and I am encouraged by their awe and love for Christ. These are the kids that I served only a couple of years back, and oh my GOD, how He worked, how He used me, how He saves. And if their love for each other and for the campers are any indication of God’s love in them – Oh how HE loves us!
THEN, a couple of weeks ago, a sermon at Harvest (Pastor Bill Borinstein) defined types of fruit to be the following, where fruit is simply the love of Jesus being lived out through us, all to the glory of God:
i) Gospel Proclamation (Romans 13:1)
ii) Personal Holiness (Romans 6:22)
iii) Godly Character (Galatians 5:22-23)
iv) Good works (Colossians 1:9-10)
v) Sacrificial Worship (Hebrews 12:15)
Are these five things evident in my life? Perhaps – though definitely not in the capacity that they should be exemplified. I served at juniors for many years. Looking back now, I question the intent of my heart, and if I really knew what it meant to love Christ & serve Him. But despite that, I know now that the time spent serving Christ was fruitful, even if I didn’t see fruit until now. I do not know how fruit is measured, but if these five things are what we should strive for in order to be fruitful, I can say with great confidence, that this has already been a fruitful summer.
You did not choose me, but i chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. – John 15:16