John 15:12-17 Progress Is Presumed

God expects us to grow.  We come to Jesus in one condition and put our faith in Him as Savior and Lord.  The decision grants us the experience of the presence of God in our life and entry to heaven.  Cultivating that sense of God’s presence and living a life of ever greater obedience to God are not like the initial decision to trust in Jesus.  God calls the changes in our life bearing fruit.  In one sense it refers to the Fruit of the Spirit, a list of character traits mentioned in the book of Galatians, which indicate what sort of people we should be becoming.  In another sense bearing fruit is telling others how to place their trust in Jesus and seeing them make that same decision to follow Him you made.  Fruit is seen to be an outward sign of inward growth closer to Jesus.

In this passage Jesus reminds us that fruit is not produced by our won efforts.  God chose us before the beginning of the world to follow Jesus and to bear fruit.  That means God had a plan for how each one of us will grow and change and reach others for Christ that He devised before we were ever born.  God does not force us to comply with His plan, but He is ready if we choose to listen.  The kind of fruit He has planned for us is fruit that remains, that does real good and makes a meaningful difference in our own lives and the lives of others.  Fruit, however does not come about because the branch that bears it gets busy rolling out dirt with its leaves and gathering ingredients to make a grape.  Branches bear grapes when they remain connected to the grapevine, if that connection is untended or severed the branch just withers away no matter how well its leaves are photosynthesizing.  In the same way we bear fruit by staying connected to Jesus.

Yesterday in my blog I covered how to stay close to Christ so I will not bore you by repeating myself.  But I do have a challenge.  Sometimes folks complain that trusting Jesus hasn’t changed anything.  They still feel as bad as they did before, their lives are still as messed up, etc. My question is, are you staying connected to the vine?  Are you doing the things that improve your relationship with Jesus?  Otherwise it’s like buying a new car, leaving it in the garage, and complaining about how you have to walk everywhere or get a ride from a friend.
Without Wax,
Dr. Dwight