JOHN 12:23-26 – And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE FRUITFUL CHRISTIAN LIFE. The Christian life is to be a fruit-bearing life. And the Christian life will be a fruit-bearing life. Jesus tells us so, “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). There is no such thing as a “fruit-less” Christian, but the question needing to be answered is “What fruit am I to bear as a Christian?” Some have tried to define this “fruit” as winning souls for Christ, or making converts. This is problematic. No one wins people to Christ. The Holy Spirit “wins” people to Christ. Please don’t misunderstand me. It is the responsibility and privilege of every Christian to be vocal witnesses to the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, if the fruit of the Christian life is winning people to Christ, there will be much undeserved guilt placed on Christians. God uses His children to reap the harvest of souls, but it is God who reaps the harvest, not His people. Some people have the gift of evangelism and will be the instrument of leading people to Christ. Others do not. If “fruit” is the winning of people to Christ, many Christians will be discouraged.
So, what is this fruit that Jesus says will be abundant in His people? It is the Fruit of His Spirit – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit in the Christian life is the development of Christ’s character in our lives. It is the work of the Spirit in the yielded life of a believer producing Christ-likeness. Yet, the key to this fruitful Christian life is found in today’s scripture. In the Lord’s dialogue, He does two things. First, He makes Himself the example of what it is going to take to be a fruit-bearer. Then, He makes it crystal clear His people must follow His example if they want to bear fruit.
Jesus draws us to “behold Him” in what is about to happen in His life – death by way of the cross. For Jesus? This was the path to glory. For us? It is the model and path to fruitfulness. Our Lord would then look us in the eye saying, “Do you want to bear fruit? Then die. Die to yourself, your desires, your wills.”
Friends, there is no other way to be a joyful and fruitful Christian. We must daily die to ourselves; not partially, but completely. Until we come to the point of being able to say with the Apostle Paul, For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain, there will be no fruit developed (Philippians 1:21). Perhaps one of the reasons we see so little fruit being developed in our lives is because we are trying to live for Christ and for ourselves. This dual affection will never be accepted by God, and will not bear fruit. There is a time in the life of every Christian, we must decide – are we going to daily give all of ourselves to Christ or not? And the decision we make will determine a barren, fruitless Christian life or an abundant, joy-filled, fruit-bearing Christian life.
PRAYER: “Father, may my life be a fruit-bearing life that brings pleasure and glory to You.”
QUOTE: “There is only one way to be a joyful and fruitful Christian – daily dying to our desires and wills.”