No Christian desires to live his or her live in a state of unproductive fruitlessness, otherwise called barrenness. This does not happen accidentally, but as a result of a constant neglect of ones spiritual life and relationship with Christ. No relationship thrives in the absence of a constant connect between the parties involved and ours with God is not an exception. God desires that we His children be productive.
During His last hours before going to the cross, Jesus spent time comforting His Disciples while also opening their eyes to the principles of His kingdom. Using the picture of a tree, he elucidates truths behind being a productive, fruit-bearing child of the kingdom. This we find in John 15:1-11. He states three conditions, as follows:
- Abide in Christ (John 15:4): Just as it would be impossible for any branch to be productive apart from the vine, so it is impossible for any Christian (the branch), to be productive aside Christ (the vine). It is therefore imperative that are lives are so patterned in ways that conform to the commands of God. As James rightly puts it, we must move beyond listening to sermons, but also acting therein (James 1:22). This would entail listening, memorizing, studying and praying constantly.
- Acknowledge that without Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5): someone could retort, “well, apart from Him, I do a lot of things”. Well, yes you do. But apart from Him, you can do nothing meaningful. Thus is exactly the point Jesus makes here. The world advocates self-reliance, self-confidence and their likes. However, that can only go so far. Solomon puts it head-on, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Human competence and ability are seldom enough.
- Make prayer a habit (John 15:7): Many a Christian have regarded prayer as a quick fix. We regard God as a slot machine who is there to do our bidding. No relationship thrives when it has been starved of communication. Prayer should be regarded as such and been seen as a means of both hearing God and speaking to Him. We hear Him through His word (the Bible), even as we speak to Him in our words through the Holy Spirit empowering us. This should be our everyday, moment-by-moment living.
May we put these principles to practice as we aim to be bearers of lasting fruits for our God and Saviour.