In the Old Testament, Israel was sometimes symbolized by a vine. As in Psalm 80, You brought a vine out of Egypt. You drove out the nations and planted it.
The vine produced both food (grapes, raisins) and wine for celebration. But the vine had the potential to produce a sweet harvest, or a rotten one.
Jesus speaks to His disciples in John chapter 15, hours before He was taken to the cross. He contrasts Himself with Israel, giving us the last of His I AM statements~
I am the True Vine, and my Father is the Gardener.
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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
The Greek word for cuts off also means lifts up or redirects. Scholars believe the meaning here is that branches bearing NO fruit represent those who are not true believers. But some believe Jesus is saying His branches that bear no fruit have to be redirected, that something has to change, because His branches must bear fruit.
The word prunes comes from a Greek word which also means cleanses. Those branches which already do bear fruit will be cleansed by His Word to bear even more fruit. You get the feeling here, that we are here–we live–to bear fruit for the glory of God.
Which begs the question, what does it mean to bear fruit to God’s glory?
Growing up, I thought the phrase bearing fruit meant one thing–leading people to Jesus. As in, getting them to want to pray THE PRAYER. That was the simple definition of bearing fruit I had heard. Talking through the way to salvation and praying with a person is absolutely bearing fruit…fruit that will last. But it’s not the entire definition.
Several New Testament passages compare the fruit of sin and death with godly fruit. The fruit of sin is most obviously, sin: idolatry, hatred, jealousy, fits of rage, sexual sin, selfish ambition, disunity, drunkenness, greed, and other behaviors motivated by the sinful nature. See Romans 7 and Galatians 5 to study this further.
The OT speaks of good fruit God desires, fruit like justice and righteousness.
In the NT, the Fruit of the Light consists of goodness, righteousness, and truth. (Ephesians 5:9)
The Fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5)
So then, how do we bear good fruit?
Let’s pick up there on Monday.
Tomorrow, I will share with you my contest-winning devotion from Proverbs 31 Ministries. See you then…